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Maximizing Lucerne (Medicago sativa) Pasture Intake of Dairy Cows: 1-the Effect of Pre-Grazing Pasture Height and Mixed Ration Level

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Ison, K. A. D., Benvenutti, M. A., Mayer, D. G., Quigley, S. and Barber, D. G. (2020) Maximizing Lucerne (Medicago sativa) Pasture Intake of Dairy Cows: 1-the Effect of Pre-Grazing Pasture Height and Mixed Ration Level. Animals, 10 (5). p. 860. ISSN 2076-2615

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Article Link(s): https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050860

Publisher URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/5/860

Abstract

The effect of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) pre-grazing pasture height on pasture intake and milk production was investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration (PMR) dairy system in south-east Queensland, Australia. The experiment involved a 26-day adaptation period followed by an eight-day measurement period during April and May 2018. Twenty-four multiparous Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were offered a mixed ration at either 7 (low) or 14 (high) kg dry matter (DM)/cow/day and allocated pastures at pre-grazing heights ranging from 23 to 39 cm. The targeted pasture intake was 14 and 7 kg DM/cow/day for cows offered the low and high mixed ration allowances respectively, with a total intake target of 21 kg DM/cow/day. Pasture structure did not limit pasture intake as the all groups left at least 12% of the allocated area ungrazed, and therefore could selectively graze pasture. There was no significant difference in intake between mixed ration levels, however intake had a positive linear relationship with pre-grazing pasture height. For every one cm increase in pasture height, intake increased by 0.3 kg DM/cow/day. Using a grazing strategy that ensures the some pasture remains ungrazed and the pre-grazing height of lucerne is approximately 39 cm above ground level will maximise pasture intake in sub-tropical PMR dairy systems.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:lucerne; grazing management; grazing dynamics; Medicago sativa
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Deposited On:08 Jun 2020 05:03
Last Modified:08 Jun 2020 05:03

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