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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Allocating fresh pasture during the afternoon enhances daily weight gains… what about milk yield

item Gregorini, Pablo
item Soder, Kathy

Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2007
Publication Date: 10/1/2007
Citation: Gregorini, P., Soder, K.J. 2007. Allocating fresh pasture during the afternoon enhances daily weight gains… what about milk yield. Lancaster Farming. October 6, 2007. p. E8.

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 pound 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.

Last Modified: 07/27/2017
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