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Animals 2018, 8(5), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050076

Concentrate Supplement Modifies the Feeding Behavior of Simmental Cows Grazing in Two High Mountain Pastures

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
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Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 13 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract

During grazing on Alpine pastures, the use of concentrates in dairy cows’ diet leads to a reduction of the environmental sustainability of farms, and influences the selective pressure on some plant species. In order to minimize the use of concentrates, it is imperative to obtain data on the grazing behavior of cows. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of concentrate levels on the behavior of dairy cows during grazing. One hundred and ten lactating Italian Simmental cows, that sequentially grazed two pastures characterized by Poion alpinae (Poion) and Seslerion caeruleae (Seslerion) alliance, were considered. For each pasture, eight cows were selected and assigned to two groups: High and Low, supplemented with 4 kg/head/d, and 1 kg/head/d of concentrate respectively. Cows were equipped with a noseband pressure sensor and a pedometer (RumiWatch system, ITIN-HOCH GmbH) to assess grazing, ruminating, and walking behavior. In addition, the plant selection of the animals was assessed. On Poion, increased supplement intake caused a more intense selection of legumes, without affecting feeding and walking times. On Seslerion, grazing time was higher in Low than High. Grazing management in alpine region must take into account the great variability of pastures that largely differ from a floristic and nutritional point of view. View Full-Text
Keywords: grazing behavior; alpine pasture; supplement; automatic feeding behavior recorder grazing behavior; alpine pasture; supplement; automatic feeding behavior recorder
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Romanzin, A.; Corazzin, M.; Piasentier, E.; Bovolenta, S. Concentrate Supplement Modifies the Feeding Behavior of Simmental Cows Grazing in Two High Mountain Pastures. Animals 2018, 8, 76.

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