Next Article in Journal
Providing Effective Environmental Enrichment to Pigs: How Far Have We Come?
Next Article in Special Issue
The Order of Grass and Maize Silage Supplementation Modifies Milk Yield, Grazing Behavior and Nitrogen Partitioning of Lactating Dairy Cows
Previous Article in Journal
Using Qualitative Methods to Explore Farrier-Related Barriers to Successful Farriery Interventions for Equine Welfare in India
Previous Article in Special Issue
Patterns of Biodynamic Milk Fatty Acid Composition Explained by A Climate-Geographical Approach
Open AccessArticle

Grazing Preference of Dairy Cows and Pasture Productivity for Different Cultivars of Perennial Ryegrass under Contrasting Managements

1
Departamento de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Acuícolas, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Campus Norte, Rudecindo Ortega 02950, Temuco 4780000, Chile
2
Rothamsted Research, Sustainable Agriculture Sciences, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
3
Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Instituto de Producción Animal, Universidad Austral de Chile, Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
4
CIA-CENEREMA, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
5
Graduate School, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Universidad Austral de Chile, Campus Isla Teja, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(5), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050253
Received: 13 April 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
Increasing soluble sugars in pasture species can lead to an improved nutrient use efficiency in the rumen and a greater digestibility of forage, which in turn might increase pasture intake. However, this improvement in nutritional value must not be at the expense of pasture productivity; the amount of nutrients harvested is a relevant factor in ruminant grazing systems’ efficiency. Therefore, we tested four different cultivars of perennial ryegrass (two selected for greater soluble sugar content and two standard cultivars) submitted to two contrasting managements (one aimed at improving sugar content and one with the opposite intended effect) for their effects on pasture productivity (by cutting herbage every time the plots reached the target number of leaves per tiller, i.e., two or three) and the grazing preference of dairy cows (six cows grazed for up to 5 hours, in an experimental area with three plots for each of the eight treatments) in spring, summer and autumn. We found that high sugar grasses had lower annual dry matter productivity and no preference was shown by cows, although the agronomic management aimed at reducing sugar concentration enhanced crude protein concentration and increased the herbage harvested (greater preference) in the three seasons, and the time spent grazing in autumn.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the pasture performance of different cultivars of perennial ryegrass, two “high sugar” and two standard cultivars, under two contrasting agronomic managements (aimed at either decreasing or increasing water soluble carbohydrates concentration), and their effects on the grazing preference of dairy cows. Eight treatments arising from the factorial combination of four cultivars and two managements were randomly applied to 31-m2 plots in three blocks. Pasture dry matter production and growth rate were measured for one year. Three grazing assessments were performed to establish the grazing preferences of six dairy cows in spring, summer and autumn. High sugar cultivars produced less dry matter per hectare than the standard cultivars. Cows consumed more grass and harvested a greater proportion of the pasture under the agronomic management aimed at decreasing sugar concentration, i.e., with a greater nitrogen fertilization rate and under a more frequent defoliation regime, which could be explained by the greater crude protein concentration achieved under this management. The results suggest that the genetic selection for greater levels of sugars was at the expense of herbage yield, and that cows preferred to graze herbage with a greater crude protein level instead of a greater sugar concentration. View Full-Text
Keywords: high sugar grass; Lolium perenne; defoliation regime; nitrogen fertilisation; herbage mass; pasture yield; dry matter intake; pasture growth rate high sugar grass; Lolium perenne; defoliation regime; nitrogen fertilisation; herbage mass; pasture yield; dry matter intake; pasture growth rate
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

MDPI and ACS Style

Rivero, M.J.; Balocchi, O.L.; Neumann, F.L.; Siebald, J.A. Grazing Preference of Dairy Cows and Pasture Productivity for Different Cultivars of Perennial Ryegrass under Contrasting Managements. Animals 2019, 9, 253.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop