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The defoliation dynamics of a stockpiled native grassland pasture follow similar patterns between supplemented and unsupplemented beef calves

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Cazzuli, F., Bremm, C., Jaurena, M., Poppi, D., Durante, M., Benvenutti, M. A., Savian, J. V., Devincenzi, T., Rovira, P., Lagomarsino, X., Hirigoyen, A. and Lattanzi, F. A. (2023) The defoliation dynamics of a stockpiled native grassland pasture follow similar patterns between supplemented and unsupplemented beef calves. Grass and Forage Science, 78 (2). pp. 306-316. ISSN 0142-5242

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/gfs.12608

Publisher URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gfs.12608


Abstract It is unclear to what extent and on which variables does supplementing beef cattle on native grasslands affect sward structure, specifically on the dynamics of its grazing horizons. Three hypotheses were tested: (i) during a grazing down process under similar forage allowance, supplemented animals take longer to finish each grazing stratum, than their unsupplemented counterparts, (ii) in both cases, the upper stratum will be heavily depleted before the subsequent strata are grazed, (iii) some species and/or forage fractions are consumed faster than others, regardless of the animals being supplemented (corn dried distillers grains with solubles, DDGS, at 0.7% of their body weight, BW, on a dry matter, DM, basis) or not. Three blocks of stockpiled native grasslands were used and split into two treatments plots (n = 6), on which either supplemented (S) or control (C) heifers of 10.6 ± 0.6 months of age and an initial BW of 143 ± 9 kg, were used. A 2.5 × 0.5 m observation grid was installed on the sward, generating 384 observation points on each plot. On these observation plots, sward height (SH) and visually assessed green forage mass percentage (%G) were registered every other day for 12 consecutive days. No differences were found between the horizontal grazing dynamics between supplemented and control animals in terms of how they switched from the upper grazing horizon to the successive ones. In both cases, when the upper grazing horizon was heavily depleted, the subsequent horizon was being depleted by its half. Differences of preference for C3 species over C4 was observed for both treatments, but this effect was more meaningful for control animals. Grazing time never fully compensated for the decline in intake rate during depletion throughout the grazing horizons. Pasture intake declined when the animals transition from grazing the top grazing horizons to the lower horizons, irrespective of the level of supplementation. Managing the sward structure in terms of sward height will be beneficial to maximizing individual animal performance, for both C and S animals. Native grasslands paddocks with a greater C3 gasses predominance will always be preferred to C4 dominated paddocks, regardless of an eventual supplementation practice.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:05 Jul 2023 05:43
Last Modified:05 Jul 2023 05:43

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