Displacement patterns of cattle grazing on Kikuyugrass swards under intermittent grazing

C.H. Rocha G.T. Santos D.A. Padilha D. Schmitt C. Medeiros-Neto A.F. Sbrissia About the authors

ABSTRACT

The aim of this work was to evaluate the pattern of displacement of cattle grazing kikuyu grass swards at different pre-grazing heights of 10, 15, 20 and 25cm and submitted to grazing down to a same level of defoliation of 50% of initial pre-grazing height. Patterns of exploitation of feed stations were evaluated from direct observation of two animals (1/observer) per experimental unit with recording of codes (steps, bites, and other activities in a portable recorder device. The evaluations were performed twice a day (10 and 15h) during one hour, at the first and the last day of stocking period. Moreover, at pre and post-grazing were evaluated: herbage mass, leaf mass and sheath, and extended tiller height. The experimental design was a complete randomized block design with three replications and four treatments. The variables steps per minute, number of bites per feeding station, and bite rate were higher in lower pastures decreasing as the sward height increased in the initial phase with no difference in the final phase of grazing down. During the initial phase of the grazing down the animals presented differences in displacement patterns, where sward heights of 20 to 25cm in Kikuyu grass presented better conditions for foraging by grazing animals. Grazing down pastures to 50% of initial grazing height negatively affects displacement patterns of animals, irrespective of pre-grazing heights targets.

Keywords:
Pennisetum clandestinum; Grazing down; sward height; ingestive behavior

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil
E-mail: abmvz.artigo@abmvz.org.br