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Un pâturage tournant alternatif conciliant performances animales et préservation des insectes prairiaux

Abstract : Permanent pastures provide suitable habitat for insects such as bumblebees and butterflies, in sharp decline throughout Europe. Here, we designed an alternative rotational stocking management that aims to preserve grassland insects while also maintaining stocking rate, and thus the level of livestock production per hectare: it consists in temporary excluding of one of the sub-plots of the rotation at flowering peak, in order to provide abundant resources and a favorable sward structure for insects. Such rotational grazing was compared to continuous grazing at the same stocking rate i) in cattle grazed at two stocking rates, high and moderate, and ii) in sheep grazed at a high stocking rate in either upland or more fertile grassland communities. Two years of measurements were conducted for each comparison. In cattle, rotational grazing at a high stocking rate increased flowering intensity in rotationally-grazed plots (p <0.01) and doubled the species richness (p <0.001) and abundance of butterflies (p <0.01). It, however, also led to a 19% reduction in the number of grazing days in a year of unfavourable spring grass growth. Benefit for butterflies was lower at the moderate stocking rate (increased abundance of 35%, p <0.10), but this stocking rate always allowed good growth performance of heifers. In sheep, rotational grazing led to an increase in bumblebee abundance (p <0.05 in year 1, year x treatment: p <0.10) and species richness (p <0.05), but had no effect on ground beetles. Benefit for butterflies (p <0.10 for abundance) was weak and limited to the excluded sub-plots. Sheep growth was not affected. Temporarily excluding cattle from some of the plots at flowering peak thus appears a biodiversity-friendly management for permanent grasslands, but it appears a risky grazing practice when spring grass growth is low. Benefits of this rotational stocking management may also be weaker in sheep-grazed pastures.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 3:37:00 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02749559, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 196275

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Alexandra Scohier, Anne Farruggia, Laurent Lanore, Bertrand Dumont. Un pâturage tournant alternatif conciliant performances animales et préservation des insectes prairiaux. 19. Rencontres Recherches Ruminants, Dec 2012, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02749559⟩

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