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The relationship between the grazing efficiency and the production, morphology and nutritional traits of perennial ryegrass varieties

Abstract : Ruminant grazing systems aim to optimize the proportion of grazed forage within the diet and perennial ryegrass grazing efficiency influences both the quantity and quality of herbage utilized. The objective of this study was to examine morphological and chemical plant characteristics and test for any associations with grazing efficiency. The leading perennial ryegrass varieties from the 2016 Irish Recommended List were established in a plot study and rotationally grazed by dairy cows over 3 years. Pre-grazing plant characteristics were measured and related to grazing efficiency, as measured by ‘residual grazed height’. Data were analysed using the PROC MIXED procedure to test for trait differences between varieties, and their corresponding ploidy and heading categorizations. Traits displaying significant variety variability were then tested for their correlation to grazing efficiency using the PROC GLM procedure. Tetraploid varieties exhibited superior grazing efficiency over diploids, due to their superior performance in traits correlated with grazing efficiency. Increasing organic matter digestibility and leaf proportion and decreasing neutral detergent fibre and stem height within the sward were found to increase grazing efficiency. The observed link between these plant traits and grazing efficiency indicates a possibility that they could be used to develop proxy measures to aid breeders to select for, and evaluators to measure, varietal grazing efficiency without involving animal assessments. It was concluded that this would make it logistically practical to assess large numbers of varieties in small plot trials to both breed and evaluate perennial ryegrass varieties for superior grazing efficiency.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03138697
Contributor : Emilie Bernard <>
Submitted on : Thursday, February 11, 2021 - 1:27:54 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:38:17 PM

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T. Tubritt, Luc Delaby, T. Gilliland, M. O'Donovan. The relationship between the grazing efficiency and the production, morphology and nutritional traits of perennial ryegrass varieties. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2020, 158 (7), pp.583-593. ⟨10.1017/S0021859620000982⟩. ⟨hal-03138697⟩

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