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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

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


MEDEIROS, Renato Borges de et al. Diurnal ingestive behavior of sheep grazing annual ryegrass at different phenological growth stages. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2007, vol.36, n.1, pp.198-204. ISSN 1516-3598.

The objective of this trial was to evaluate the diurnal ingestive behavior of late pregnant-early lactating Corriedale ewes grazing annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) at different phenological growth stages (vegetative, pre-flowering and flowering). Animals were maintained in paddocks of 1.3 ha from July 21 to November 11 of 2000. Grazing time, bite rate, bite weight, crude protein (CP) content per bite, and forage dry matter (DM) and CP intakes were measured. The longest grazing time and the greatest forage DM and CP intakes were observed at late afternoon on all three phenological growth stages of annual ryegrass. Grazing time and intakes of CP and DM observed early in the morning (7:00 to 7:50 AM) during the vegetative and pre-flowering phenological growth stages were similar to those registered at late afternoon. In addition, the greater bite rates and bite weights observed at pre-flowering plus the longer grazing time at this growth stage resulted in the highest diurnal intake of forage DM. The shortest grazing times were found from 8:00 to 9:50 AM, from 8:00 to 8:50 AM and from 12:00 AM to 12:50 PM, and from 7:00 to 8:50 AM, respectively, for the vegetative, pre-flowering, and flowering phenological growth stages, which coincided with the lowest intakes of forage DM and CP.

Keywords : diurnal grazing behavior; forage intake; Lolium multiflorum; selective grazing.

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