Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
BRANCIO, Patrícia Amarante et al. Evaluation of three varieties of Panicum maximum Jacq. under grazing: diet composition, dry matter intake and animal weight gain. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2003, vol.32, n.5, pp.1037-1044. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982003000500002.
Three varieties of Panicum maximum Jacq. were evaluated by measuring the botanical and chemical composition of the diet, and the dry matter intake and weight gain of the animal under rotational grazing, before and after a period of grazing. The treatments were: 1) v. Tanzânia + 50 kg N/ha, 2) v. Tanzânia + 100 kg N/ha, 3) v. Mombaça + 50 kg N/ha, and 4) v. Massai + 50 kg N/ha. Of the diets selected by the animals, v. Massai tended to show lower values for digestibility and crude protein, and higher values for neutral detergent fiber; however, in general, the diets containing v. Mombaça had higher values for silica. The animals selected an average of 92.4% green leaves, independent of treatment and season of sampling. The animals consumed similar quantities of forage on the diverse treatments, with average intakes of 1.9, 2.8, 3.4, and 2.3 kg DM/100 kg BW, respectively, for June, September and November of 1998 and March of 1999. Low weight gains of the animals on v. Massai were verified, but due to the higher availability of forage during the rainy season, the weight gains per hectare were higher than for v. Mombaça + 50 kg N/ha and v. Tanzânia+ 50 kg N/ha. Factors which had the most positive influence on weight gain of the animals were quantity of leaves, height of the pasture, crude protein content of the diet selected by the animals, and size of the bite.
Keywords : chemical composition; pasture rotation; selectivity; grazing pressure.