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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #224073

Title: Linking pasture and animal processes. Grazing few hours during the afternoon and evening

item Gregorini, Pablo

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2008
Publication Date: 4/20/2008
Citation: Gregorini, P. 2008. Linking pasture and animal processes. Grazing few hours during the afternoon and evening. Extension Fact Sheets.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Cattle instinctively concentrate grazing during dusk, when pasture is more nutritive. Afternoon allocations of fresh pasture (PM) increase duration and intensity of dusk grazing bouts and consequently pasture intake at that time of day, which certainly has demonstrated to improve animal performance when compared with morning allocations of fresh pasture. Because pasture intake rate is positively associated with hunger, the pasture intake during dusk might not yet be maximized. This technical note shows the results of an experiment assessing the impact of morning fasting periods on PM, evaluating evening grazing behavior, pasture intake and performance of beef heifers. When morning fasting periods (8 h) were combined with PM, heifers decreased the daily grazing time, but increased the grazing time during evening hours. Idling time increased along the day. Rumination time was the same for both grazing managements. Despite this variation in grazing behavior, animal performance and pasture intake did not differ. Consequently, a strategically planed morning fasting would generate longer more intense dusk grazing bouts, increasing the intake of higher nutritive pasture, making cattle perform equal in shorter grazing sessions.