Pre-Grazing Herbage Mass Affects Grazing Behavior, Herbage Disappearance, and the Residual Nutritive Value of a Pasture during the First Grazing Session
Escuela de Graduados, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, P.O. Box 567, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Universidad de Chile, Santiago 8820808, Chile
Instituto de Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, P.O. Box 567, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, P.O. Box 567, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 December 2019 / Revised: 23 January 2020 / Accepted: 25 January 2020 / Published: 28 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle
The progressive defoliation carried out by dairy cows during the grazing-down process affects the characteristics of the pasture, the dry matter intake and the productive performance of the animals, particularly during the first hours of grazing. This is especially relevant when increasing the efficiency in pasture-based dairy systems. Two pre-grazing herbage masses (high and medium herbage masses) were used to evaluate the process of defoliation carried out by dairy cows during the first hours after the beginning of grazing and its effects on the pasture and animals. The pre-grazing herbage mass affected the ingestive behavior of dairy cows, which influenced the productive performance, and the morphological characteristics and nutritive value of the pasture. It is concluded that pre-grazing herbage mass affects the grazing process carried out by dairy cows during the first hours after the allocation of a new grazing area, modifying the eating pattern of the dairy cows. The results of our study allow highlighting the importance of grazing management in pasture-based dairy systems.