Relationship between variables concerning elephantgrass (Pennisetum purpureum, Schum.) dry matter intake by grazing Holstein × Zebu lactating cows

The principal component (PC) analysis was used to study the relationship between variables in a database of trials carried out at Embrapa Gado de Leite. The variables studied were concerning animal factors (days in milk, fat and total solid contents in milk, live weigh, Holstein × Zebu gene fraction, milk yield and parity), management factors (occupation day of paddock, pasture allowance, resting periods), environmental factors (season of the year, rainfall) and feed factors (DM, CP, NDF, ADF and digestible DM intake of concentrate and of sugarcane plus urea, DM intake of elephantgrass pasture, DM, CP, NDF, ADF contents and in vitro digestibility of elephantgrass, and fecal CP, NDF and ADF contents). The first PC (33.7% of total variance) could be interpreted as the use of pasture roughage supplementation (sugarcane plus urea) to minimize the effects of decreasing of pasture allowance and DM intake in cow performance. The second PC (15.3% of total variance) was concerning the nutrients intake of concentrate. The third PC (8.5% of total variance) characterized the effects of management factors over chemical composition of elephantgrass pasture. The visual interpretation of PC loading plots allowed a general and dynamic sight about the relationship and antagonism between variables in this study.

elephantgrass; intake; lactating cows; pasture; principal component

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