Animal performance, forage yield and structural characteristics in the palisadegrass cvs. marandu and xaraés submitted to grazing intensities

The objectives were to evaluate the forage yield, the structural characteristics, the herbage intake, the grazing behavior and beef cattle performance in the palisadegrass cvs. Marandu and Xaraés pastures submitted to three grazing intensities. The experiment was carried out at Embrapa Gado de Corte. The experimental period was from October 2005 to June 2006. The area was of 8 ha, divided in 12 paddocks of 0.67 ha. Two cultivars of palisadegrass, Marandu and Xaraés, and three grazing intensities, 15, 30, and 45 cm of sward height were evaluated. The experimental design was randomized block in a split plot arrangement and two replications. The main plot was constituted by cultivars and the subplot by the grazing intensities. The grazing was continuously stocking with variable stocking rate. Each paddock was grazed by three steers and regulating animals were utilized to adjust the sward heights. The sward heights were monitored twice per week. The grass was sampled each 28 days to estimate the herbage yield, herbage accumulation rate, pasture structural characteristics, and nutritive value. Animals were weighed each 28 days. The dry matter intake was estimated in the summer and the autumn, and the grazing behavior in the summer. Herbage accumulation and average daily gain decreased as the grazing intensities increased for both palisadegrass cvs. Xaraés and Marandu. The forage intake for the animals in xaraés grass pasture was limited by the variation in the sward structure. Based on the sward structural characteristics, forage intake and the productivity, these grasses require differentiated management. Marandu grass must be managed between 25 and 40 cm of height and xaraés grass at 40 cm.

Brachiaria brizantha; forage accumulation; forage allowance; forage intake; nutritive value; pasture management

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