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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


ROMAN, Juliano et al. Ingestive behaviour and performance of sheep grazing Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) pasture with different herbage masses. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2007, vol.36, n.4, pp.780-788. ISSN 1806-9290.

The objective of this trial was to evaluate ingestive behaviour and performance of sheep grazing Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) pasture with different herbage mass (HM): low HM: 1,000 - 1,200 kg/ha of DM (LHM); medium HM: 1,400-1,600 kg/ha DM (MHM); high HM 1,800-2,000 kg/ha DM (HHM). A completely randomized design with three treatments and two replicates (paddocks) per treatment was used. Data were submitted to polynomial regression analysis in function of the actual HM observed in each experimental unit: 1,136.8, 1,190.9, 1,359.2, 1,375, 1,556, and 1,739.1 kg/ha DM. Leaf blade and pseudostem masses, forage and leaf blade allowances, sward and pseudostem heights, leaf blade depth, and average daily gain all increased linearly from LHM to HHM while the opposite was observed for stocking and bite rates. However, no HM effect was found for herbage intake, times spent grazing, ruminating and idle, amount of daily bite, bite mass, body condition score gain, body weight gain per hectare, and feed efficiency. The range of HM evaluated showed no differences in body weight gain per hectare with similar conversion efficiency of forage in animal product. The depth of leaf blade layers is the most important variable affecting sheep performance.

Keywords : average daily gain; bite mass; conversion efficiency; forage intake; body weight gain per hectare; stocking rate.

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