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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

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


SANTOS, Betina Raquel Cunha dos et al. Interaction between grazing behavior and functional type dynamics in native grassland in the central depression Region of Rio Grande do Sul. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.5, pp.1897-1906. ISSN 1516-3598.

This study aimed to describe the feeding and spatial behavior of beef heifers under rotational stocking, in response to the dynamics of the morphological functional types (TFs) in natural grassland. Stocking rate was adjusted to keep an average of 12% (12 kg DM/100 kg BW) of forage allowance. Animal activity was registered from 12 to 27 February 2003 using the Ethosys automatic device. Thirty permanent field sampling units comprised by five adjacent 0.20 x 0.20 m squares were used to determine pasture attributes. Results showed the existence of an optimum subset of two attributes to describe pasture plant community: the aerial and the lignified (woody) forage biomasses, which defined eight morphological functional types that had a 0.43 congruency value with the variable degree-day. The evolution of grazing activity showed that grazing time increased as the frequency of preferred functional types decreased. Thus, the morphological characterization of functional type-based attribute definition can bring more contributions for the interactive response between the vegetation and the animal behavior than the one realized using only the taxonomic identification. Therefore, in a simultaneous action, as the vegetation change, the animals modulate the behavior adjusting their rhythm of activity in time and space, determining, in a continuous process, differential impacts in the vegetation, which evolves with time.

Keywords : automatic device; degrees-day; grazing time; stocking rate.

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