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Effect of structure of a tropical pasture on ingestive behaviour, digestibility of diet and daily intake by grazing cattle

Abstract : The effect of the structure of a tropical pasture, based on Dichanthium spp., on the ingestive behaviour, in vivo digestibility of the diet and herbage intake by eight Creole tethered heifers was studied. Two levels of nitrogen fertilizer (0 and 50 kg ha-1) were applied to plots after each grazing cycle and there were 28 d between each of the three grazing cycles. Four heifers grazed indivi- dual subplots daily on each plot for 14 d in each of the successive grazing cycles. Simultaneous measurements of bite depth, bite mass, biting rate, short-term intake rate and daily grazing time were made in two 4-d periods at the end of each 14-d period. The in vivo organic matter digestibility (OMD) and daily herbage organic matter intake (OMI, expressed on a kg LW0·75 basis) were also measured at the same times. Relationships among pasture characteristics and ingestive behaviour were similar to those reported in other short-term studies: pasture height was highly correlated with bite depth, bite mass and biting rate (r = 0·91, r =0·79 and r = −0·68, respectively, P < 0·001). Pasture variables had lower correlations with grazing time and short-term intake rate than with bite depth, bite mass and biting rate. Pasture structure was more highly correlated with OMD than OMI: leaf mass and length and also the extended tiller length were highly correlated with OMD (r = 0·77, r = 0·76 and r = 0·72, respectively, P < 0·001) whereas the crude protein concentration of the herbage was correlated with OMI and digestible OMI (r = 0·50 and r = 0·69, respectively, P < 0·001). Ingestive behaviour variables, as well as OMD, were correlated more with pasture characteristics than was OMI.
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Maryline Boval, Audrey Fanchone, Harry Archimède, M.J. Gibb. Effect of structure of a tropical pasture on ingestive behaviour, digestibility of diet and daily intake by grazing cattle. Grass and Forage Science, Wiley, 2007, 62 (1), pp.44-54. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-2494.2007.00560.x⟩. ⟨hal-02660195⟩



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