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.
Some effects of a rotational grazing treatment on cattle grazing behaviorWalker, J. W.; Heitschmidt, R. K. (Society for Range Management, 1989-07-01)Research was conducted on the effects of rotational grazing (RG) compared to continuous grazing (CG) on the behavior of cattle grazing on rangelands. Different livestock densities in the RG treatments were created by varying the size of paddocks in a 465-ha, 16-paddock, cell designed RG treatment stocked at a rate of 3.6 ha/cow/yr. Paddock sizes of 30 and 10-ha were used to simulate RG with 14 (RG-14) and 42-paddocks (RG-42), respectively. The CG treatment consisted of a 248-ha pasture stocked at 5.9 ha/cow/yr. Data were collected using vibracorders, pedometers and observation to estimate time (min/day) spent: intense grazing, search grazing, trailing, or sleeping; distance walked (km/day), and individual animal space ( m2/animal) in grazing subherds. Total grazing time did not vary among grazing treatments, but the components of total grazing (i.e., intense and search grazing) did vary among treatments. Cattle in the RG-14 paddocks spent less time search grazing compared to the ones in the other treatments presumably because the rotational grazed paddocks were more uniform because of less mixing of live and dead forage. Search grazing was highest in the RG-42 paddocks which may be due to the high stock density in this treatment coupled with an attempt to maintain individual animal space. Grazing time tended to be longer the first day in a RG-14 paddock than the last. Time spent trailing and the distance walked increased as the frequency of rotation increased among the different treatments. Sleeping was similar among grazing treatments. Individual animal space within a grazing subherd decreased as the stock density increased because of the grazing treatment.
Effects of herbage allowance on defoliation patterns of tallgrass prairieJensen, H. P.; Gillen, R. L.; McCollum, F. T. (Society for Range Management, 1990-09-01)Few studies have dealt with measuring individual plant defoliations in the context of intensive grazing management. In May, July, and August of 1987, grazing trials were conducted to quantify the effects of herbage allowance on defoliation patterns of big bluestem [Andropogon gerardii Vitman], Indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash], and little bluestem [Schizachyrium (Michx.) Nash]. Herbage allowances of 10, 20, 30, and 40 kg AUD-1 were replicated twice per trial. Tiller height, relative leaf area removed, and lrequency of defoliation were measured every 2 days over 10-day trials. Indiangrass was the most preferred species in all trials. The rate of leaf area removal increased as herbage allowance decreased. Current guidelines which call for rest periods of 30-90 days would result in light to moderate intensity defolia- tion for indiangrass at all herbage allowances. The maximum percentage of tillers grazed only once per trial ranged from 20 to 98% depending on herbage allowance, species, and trial. Selectivity between species was reduced by decreasing herbage allowance but this effect was not large until herbage allowance was below 20-25 kg AUD-1 and selectivity was never completely removed. Grazing all tillers only once in a grazing period, even within a species, is unlikely in a tallgrass prairie community. Leaf area removal was moderate the first time a tiller was defoliated and severe for later defoliations. The goal of grazing any individual tiller at no greater than moderate intensity within a grazing period would he roughly equivalent to grazing any tiller no more than once. However such a goal would require many tillers to go ungrazed.