Forage Allowance as a Target of Grazing Management: Implications on Grazing Time and Forage Searching
AuthorDa Trindade, Júlio K.
Pinto, Cassiano E.
Neves, Fabio P.
Mezzalira, Jean C.
Genro, Teresa C. M.
Tischler, Marcelo R.
Gonda, Horacio L.
Carvalho, Paulo C. F.
Keywordsdisplacement in grazing
MetadataShow full item record
CitationDa Trindade, J. K., Pinto, C. E., Neves, F. P., Mezzalira, J. C., Bremm, C., Genro, T. C., ... & Carvalho, P. C. (2012). Forage allowance as a target of grazing management: implications on grazing time and forage searching. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 65(4), 382-393.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractThis work aimed to evaluate the following hypotheses: 1) the daily grazing time (GT) and 2) forage searching are more associated with the sward structure than with the levels of daily forage allowance (FA). To this end we proposed a model that was tested through an analysis of the sward structure, grazing time, and displacement in grazing by heifers on the natural grassland of the Pampa Biome (southern Brazil), which has been managed by FA levels since 1986. For three seasons, between January 2009 and February 2010, we evaluated the effect of FA on the main descriptors of the sward structure (herbage mass, sward height, and tussocks frequency) and the effect of these on the GT, displacement rate (DR), and daily displacement (D) in grazing. The data were analyzed with the use of regression and descriptive analyses from three-dimensional contour graphs withthe data of the sward structure and GT. The DR was not associated with the FA levels or sward structure; however, the DR presented a positive linear relationship with the D and GT. The incremental change in the GT was accompanied by an increase in the D. Lastly, independently of the level of the FA and season evaluated, the lower values of GT were always associated with the following structural configuration: forage mass between 1 400 and 2 200 kg DM ha-1, sward height between 9 and 13 cm, and tussock levels not exceeding 35%. Outside these limits, a penalty occurred in the GT and displacement patterns of the heifers. We found evidence that a better understanding of the cause-effect relationships between the sward structure and the ingestive behavior of the animals demonstrates the possibility of increasing the performance of domestic herbivores with important economic and ecological consequences./El objetivo del estudio fue evaluar las siguientes hipótesis: (i) si el tiempo de pastoreo diario (TP) y (ii) la búsqueda de forraje están más estrechamente relacionados a la estructura del pasto que a los niveles diarios de oferta de forraje (OF). Con este fin, propusimos un modelo que se puso a prueba en base al análisis de la estructura del pasto, el tiempo de pastoreo y el desplazamiento en pastoreo en terneras sobre un pastizal natural del Bioma Pampa (sur de Brasil) que, desde 1986, se ha manejado con distintos niveles de OF. En tresépocas, entre Ene/2009 y Feb/2010, se evaluó el efecto de la OF sobre los principales descriptores de la estructura del pasto (biomasa de forraje, altura y frecuencia de matas) y el efecto de éstos sobre el tiempo de pastoreo (TP), la tasa de desplazamiento (TD) y el desplazamiento diario (D). Los datos fueron analizados mediante regresión y por análisis descriptivos a partir de gráficos de contorno tridimensionales en base a los datos de estructura del pastoy TP. La TD no tuvo relación con OF ni con la estructura del pasto, pero mostró una relación lineal positiva con D. Incrementos en TP estuvieron asociados a incrementos en D. El estudio demostró la importancia de la estructura del pasto al constatar que, independientemente del nivel de OF y de la época del año evaluada, los valores más bajos de TP siempre estuvieron asociados aestructuras del pasto caracterizadas por una masa de forraje de 1 400 a 2 200 kg MS ha-1, alturas de 9 a 13 cm y frecuencia dematas en el pastizal menores al 35%. Fuera de estos límites hubo una penalización en el TP y en el patrón de desplazamiento en pastoreo de las vaquillas. Encontramos evidencias de que el mejor entendimiento de las relaciones causa-efecto entre la estructura del pasto y el comportamiento en pastoreo harían posible incrementar el rendimiento de los herbívoros domésticos, con importantes consecuencias económicas y probablemente ecológicas.
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Grazing systems, stocking rates, and cattle behavior in southeastern WyomingHepworth, K. W.; Test, P. S.; Hart, R. H.; Waggoner, J. W.; Smith, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 1991-05-01)Grazing systems and stocking rates are used to influence livestock grazing behavior with the intent of improving livestock and vegetation performance. In 1982, a study was initiated to determine effects of continuous, rotationally deferred, and short-duration rotation grazing and moderate and heavy stocking rates on steer gains, range vegetation, and distance traveled by and activity patterns of steers. Steers were observed from dawn to dark on 12 dates during 1983, 1984, and 1985, and activity recorded every 15 minutes. Eight steers per treatment (system X stocking rate combination) per date were observed in 1983 and 1984, and 10 per treatment in 1985. In 1984 and 1985, map locations of all steers were recorded at the same times as activity, and distance traveled summed from distances between successive map locations. In 1984, activity of 3 steers per treatment was electronically monitored during darkness. Steers grazed approximately 8.6 hr per day during daylight and 1.6 hr during darkness. Steers grazed an average of 8.9 hr/day during daylight under moderate vs 8.1 hr under heavy stocking, but stocking rate interacted with date in 1984 and grazing system in 1985. Steers traveled farther under continuous than under short-duration rotation grazing at both stocking rates in 1984, but only at the high stocking rate in 1985. Steers had to travel farther to water in the continuous pastures, and may have had to cover a greater area in an effort to select a more desirable diet, particularly under heavy stocking. These differences were not reflected in differences in gain among stocking rates or grazing systems.
Grazing systems, pasture size, and cattle grazing behavior, distribution and gainsHart, R. H.; Bissio, J.; Samuel, M. J.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1993-01-01)Reduced pasture size and distance to water may be responsible for the alleged benefits of intensive time-controlled rotation grazing systems. We compared cattle gains, activity, distance traveled, and forage utilization on a time-controlled rotation system with eight 24-ha pastures, on two 24-ha pastures grazed continuously (season-long), and on a 207-ha pasture grazed continuously, all stocked at the same rate. Utilization on the 207-ha pasture, but not on the 24-ha pastures, declined with distance from water. At distances greater than 3 km from water in the 207-ha pasture, utilization was significantly less than on adjacent 24-ha pastures, at distances of 1.0 to 1.6 km from water. Cows on the 207-ha pasture travelled farther (6.1 km/day) than cows on the 24-ha rotation pastures (4.2 km/day), which traveled farther than cows on the 24-ha continuously grazed pastures (3.2 km/day). Grazing system, range site, slope, and weather had minimal effects on cow activity patterns. Gains of cows and calves were less on the 207-ha pasture (0.24 and 0.77 kg/day, respectively) than on the 24-ha rotation pastures or 24-ha continuously grazed pastures (0.42 and 0.89 kg/da, respectively), with no differences between the latter. Calculated "hoof action" on the rotation pastures was less than that demonstrated to increase seed burial and seedling emergence. Intensive rotation grazing systems are unlikely to benefit animal performance unless they reduce pasture size and distance to water below previous levels, decreasing travel distance and increasing uniformity of grazing.