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Sward Structural Characteristics and Performance of Beef Heifers Reared under Rotational Grazing Management on Campos Grassland

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DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2014.57114    4,028 Downloads   5,049 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

This study aimed to evaluate the effect of two rest intervals on structural sward characteristics and productive performance of beef heifers reared on Campos grassland managed on rotational grazing. The treatments were two intervals between grazing of 375 and 750 DD (degree days), based on thermal cumulative sum for leaf expansion of native grasses belonging to two functional groups. The experimental design was a randomized complete block design with two treatments and three replications. The tested animals were beef heifers with initial age of 12 months and average weight of 185.2 ± 17.4 kg. Measures in the pasture were: herbage mass, mass of green leaf blades, stem mass, dead material mass and green leaf allowance. The 750 DD rest interval presented higher herbage mass (24%), higher green herbage mass and 19% more leaves in the canopy. This rest interval also presents a high proportion of dead material and stems in the sward structure. In the other way, the 375 DD rest interval presents better chemical characteristics, with 20% more crude protein in the hand plucking samples. Heifers’ dry matter intake was similar between the rest intervals (2.04% of live weight) and the bite mass was also similar (0.22 g DM per bite) but the animal performance was higher in the 375 DD rest interval. The stocking density showed similarity between treatments with an average of 875 kg/LW/ha. The live weight gain per area was higher in 40 kg/LW/ha (P = 0.117) for 375 DD rest interval, reaching 251 kg/LW/ha produced over the 149 experimental days. Based on these results, we can conclude that the treatment of shortest interval between defoliation gave the highest gain individual animals in warm seasons.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Barbieri, C. , F. de Quadros, F. , Jochims, F. , Soares, É. , de Oliveira, L. , Carvalho, R. , Dutra, G. , de Lima, F. and Gusatto, F. (2014) Sward Structural Characteristics and Performance of Beef Heifers Reared under Rotational Grazing Management on Campos Grassland. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5, 1020-1029. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2014.57114.

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