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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 1516-3598On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


PEDROSO, Carlos Eduardo da Silva et al. Sheep production at the pregnancy and at the lactation under grazing on annual ryegrass pastures at different phenological stages. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2004, vol.33, n.5, pp.1345-1350. ISSN 1516-3598.

The study was carried out in an experimental area of 5.41 ha, split in four paddocks of similar size. The performance of Corriedale breed animals at the end of pregnancy and at the beginning of lactation were evaluated from July 3 to November 18, 2000 under grazing in three phenological stages of annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.): vegetative (E1), pre-flowering (E2) and flowering (E3). The animals were maintained in a continuous grazing, with variable stocking rates aiming at maintaining an offer of dry matter (DM) around 15% of live weight (LW). The live weight gain (LWG), average daily gain (ADG) and the stocking rates were determined. The results showed a DM offer of green leaves of 7.2% of LW, whereas at E3 the percentage of stems and dead material were higher, limiting the animal selective action. This continuous decrease in pasture quality was also recorded for crude protein percentage, that decreased from 23.7% in E1 to 19.4% in E3 and in vitro organic matter digestibility, which decreased from 80.55% in E1 to 60.70% in E3. In response to this pasture condition, it was observed a satisfactory ADG as much for sheep (103 g and 87 g) as for lambs (289 g and 279 g) in the vegetative and in the pre-flowering stages. However, at the flowering stage, the daily gain decreased for sheep (-112 g) and lambs (89 g). These results showed the high potential of the annual ryegrass in terms of live weight gain at the vegetative (225 kg/ha) and at the pre-flowering stages (145 kg/ha). However the forage quality reduction at the flowering stage do not allowed its utilization for animal of high nutrient requirement.

Keywords : animal production; annual ryegrass; lactation; phenological stages; pregnancy; sheep.

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