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Cattle production from Stylosanthes pastures

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Hall, T. J. and Glatzle, A. (2004) Cattle production from Stylosanthes pastures. In: High-yielding anthracnose-resistant Stylosanthes for agricultural systems. ACIAR. ISBN 1-86320-442-3



Introducing legumes to improve soil fertility and animal production from grass-dominant pastures on low fertility soils of the tropics has been a long-proven successful management system. The Stylosanthes genus (stylo) is being grown on all continents with varying levels of success and it has provided some of the most successful species for
light-textured tropical soils, in both the high rainfall and the seasonally dry tropics. Although stylos will grow well at low fertility, the addition of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, have been required for grazing animals to capitalise on the higher protein and digestible energy intake available from a mixed grass–Stylosanthes pasture.
The annual increase in beef production from adding stylos to a pasture, providing phosphorus is not severely limiting, is around 30–60 kg/head, with over 100 kg/head achievable in some environments by also supplementing animals directly with nutrients. An increase of 2 litres of milk per day can be obtained from lactating cows on stylo-based pastures. Increases in stocking rates of over two-fold are normal in well-established Stylosanthes pastures.
The increasing market demand for younger and better-conditioned animals has provided the impetus for improving cattle nutrition by sowing Stylosanthes species in tropical and coastal subtropical areas around the world. The improved animal production from Stylosanthes pasture technology has increased the financial viability of cattle grazing in the tropics and provided greater management options to meet consumer demands for higher quality products. Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry are being fed from stylo pastures. Future roles for Stylosanthes species will expand into mixed grazing and farming systems of tropical countries.
This chapter outlines the adaptation of Stylosanthes species in grazing systems and reviews the latest research on cattle grazing performance from stylo pastures.

Item Type:Book Section
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Live Archive:02 Feb 2024 01:17
Last Modified:02 Feb 2024 01:17

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