Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
versão On-line ISSN 1806-9290
SANTOS, Márcia Vendrúsculo dos et al. Animal production and canopy attributes of Cynodon pasture managed under continuous stocking with wethers at three levels of forage allowance. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2012, vol.41, n.1, pp.181-187. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982012000100026.
The objective of the present experiment was to evaluate the effect of forage allowance (3, 6 or 9 kg of green leaves dry matter (DM)/100 kg of body weight (BW)) on both animal performance and attributes of Cynodon dactylon var.dactylon canopy managed under continuous stocking by wethers. The study was carried out with 27 Polwarth wethers throughout five 28-day periods, in a completely randomized experiment, which included three paddocks per treatment and three tester animals per paddock. Forage mass varied from 2878 to 6580 kg of DM/ha and was directly related to forage allowance. Leaves proportion (mean of 23%) and leaves growth rate (mean of 25 kg of DM/ha/day) varied between experimental periods in a similar rate for all treatments. Stocking rate varied from 652 to 2428 kg of LW/ha/day and was higher for the lowest forage allowance treatment. Individual BW gain (mean of 9.7 g/day) or gain per area (mean of 406 g/ha/day) were only affected by experimental periods. Forage intake was neither affected by treatments nor by periods (mean of 1042 g of DM/day). Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon pasture may be managed under continuous stocking by grazing wethers at forage allowances varying from 3 to 9 kg of green leaves dry matter/100 kg of BW without effects on canopy attributes or animal production.
Palavras-chave : Cynodon dactylon var. dactylon; growth rate; intake; live weight gain; sheep; tropical grass.