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Scientia Agricola

On-line version ISSN 1678-992X


CARNEVALLI, Roberta Aparecida et al. Pasture and sheep performance on tifton 85 (Cynodon spp.) pastures under continuous stocking. Sci. agric. [online]. 2001, vol.58, n.1, pp.7-15. ISSN 1678-992X.

The use of pastures for feeding ruminants is increasing in recent years due to its low cost comparatively to other sources of feed. In that sense, forage plants with good performance under grazing and presenting high flexibility of utilisation have raised a great deal of interest. In this context, pasture and animal performance were evaluated on Cynodon spp. (cultivar Tifton 85) swards kept in four steady state conditions (50, 100, 150 and 200 mm sward surface heights - SSH) with sheep grazing under continuous stocking and variable stocking rate from august/1998 to april/1999. Treatments corresponded to the SSH and were allocated to experimental units according to a complete randomised block design with four replications. Individual experimental units (400 m2 each) were grazed, at least, by two lambs to estimate animal responses, with three exclosure cages for herbage accumulation measurements. Experimental responses evaluated were: crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber and lignin, and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD). In addition, morphological composition of the "grazed" forage, proportion of leaf, stem and dead material in swards, sward bulk density, herbage accumulation rate, carrying capacity, herbage allowance, liveweight gain per animal and per hectare were estimated, along with herbage intake. Despite the differences observed in the overall nutritive value (P<0.05), where short swards (50 mm) had the highest values for CP and IVOMD, animal performance was more dependent on carrying capacity and herbage allowance, with animals performing better on longer swards (150 and 200 mm). Animal performance and pasture production increased during summer as a consequence of the increased herbage accumulation rates during this period.

Keywords : nutritive value; herbage production; morphological composition; handing plucking.

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