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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
versão On-line ISSN 1806-9290
COSTA, Vagner Guasso da et al. Grazing behavior and forage ingestion by beef heifers on pearl millet and alexander grass pastures. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2011, vol.40, n.2, pp.251-259. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982011000200004.
It was studied performance, behavior and forage ingestion by beef heifers on pearl millet (Pennisetum americanum (L.) Leeke) and Alexander grass (Urochloa plantaginea) pastures from January to April 2008. The continuous grazing method with a variable number of animals was used. Forage ingestion was estimated during vegetative and reproductive stage of forage plants using chromic oxide as fecal production marker. Evaluations of behavior were carried out by visual observation in four 24-hour continuous periods. Mean values of forage mass, forage offer and leaf blade offer were 3,927 kg/ha of DM, 14.6 kg of DM/100 kg BW and 3.36 kg of DM/100 kg BW, respectively. The variables of the pasture, animal performance, ingestive behavior and forage intake were similar for pearl millet and alexander grass. Variables of forage, animal performance and grazing times, idle and rumination and number of bites per day showed variation over days of pasture utilization. Forage ingestion was 2.49% of the body weight and it did not vary according to phenological stage. Use of sites infested with alexander grass as pastures provides performance similar to the one obtained with pearl millet.
Palavras-chave : bite mass; bite rate; chromic oxide; grazing time; Pennisetum americanum; Urochloa plantaginea.