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Defoliation dynamics, pasture intake and milk production of dairy cows grazing lucerne pastures in a partial mixed-ration system

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Ison, K. A.D., Barber, D. G., Benvenutti, M. A., Kleinitz, N., Mayer, D. G. and Poppi, D. P. (2020) Defoliation dynamics, pasture intake and milk production of dairy cows grazing lucerne pastures in a partial mixed-ration system. Animal Production Science, 60 (1). pp. 175-179. ISSN 18360939 (ISSN)


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/AN18535

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/AN/18535


The effect of lucerne pasture allocation on defoliation dynamics, pasture intake and animal production was investigated in a subtropical partial mixed-ration dairy system. The study took place at the Gatton Research Dairy, south-eastern Queensland, with a 28-day adaptation period followed by an 8-day treatment period during November and December 2016. Twenty-four multiparous Holstein Friesian dairy cows were offered 11 kg of dry matter (DM)/cow.day as partial mixed-ration dairy system, and four levels of daily pasture allocation measured to 5-cm residual pasture height (averaging 30.6, 20.5, 15.1 and 10.9 kg DM/cow.day). Cows with lower allocations were forced to graze further down the vertical plane and pasture intake and milk yield significantly (P < 0.001) declined. Cows grazed the top grazing stratum (TGS) across 80% of the pasture area before re-grazing another area of the paddock, regardless of the allocation level. Pasture intake (kg DM/ha) of the TGS was at least 2.9 times higher than that of the lower strata, regardless of allocation level. Therefore, the decline in pasture intake is explained by the transition from grazing the TGS to grazing lower strata. When the horizontal utilisation of the TGS approached 100%, the proportion of ungrazed, uncontaminated pasture approached 0% of the area, and intake and milk production declined. Grazing management strategies for lucerne should allocate pasture to lactating dairy cows to achieve horizontal utilisations approaching 0% for proportion of ungrazed, uncontaminated pasture to maximise intake and production. Secondary grazing herds or mechanical methods should be used to remove residual pasture to the ideal height for pasture regrowth. © 2019 CSIRO.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:alfalfa grazing dynamics grazing management Medicago sativa
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle > Dairying
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:28 Apr 2020 02:35
Last Modified:10 Jul 2023 01:48

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