Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2008
Publication Date: April 20, 2008
Citation: Gregorini, P. 2008. Linking pasture and animal processes Let’s allocate the pasture in the afternoon. Extension Fact Sheets. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Research conducted in Argentina, US, Australia and Europe has shown significant variations in chemical composition of pasture throughout the day, which results in an increase in pasture digestibility and energy concentration as the day progresses. Cattle have adapted their grazing patterns during the day around this variation. This technical note shows the results of previous research studies linking the natural grazing patterns with the fluctuations in pasture chemical composition and timing of pasture allocation. These studies found that afternoon pasture allocation (PM) caused beef heifers to graze longer and more intensively late in the afternoon and early in the evening, when pasture had the highest quality. Allocating fresh pasture in the afternoon led to better daily weight gains and changes in body condition score during the spring and winter. During the evening, pasture had an additional 0.32 Mcal of metabolizable energy per lb. of pasture dry matter. Since higher energy intakes typically result in greater milk yields, providing a fresh strip of pasture in the evening should result in greater milk production as shown in a similar work conducted with dairy cows in UK. A simple change in the time of herbage allocation may alter the grazing pattern, and thereby impact animal performance. This clearly may help producers gain greater control and allocate nutrients supplied by pasture with greater efficiency.