Grazing preference of dairy cows and pasture productivity for different cultivars of perennial ryegrass under contrasting managements

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Rivero, M. J., Balocchi, O. L., Neumann, F. L. and Siebald, J. A. 2019. Grazing preference of dairy cows and pasture productivity for different cultivars of perennial ryegrass under contrasting managements. Animals. 9 (5), pp. 253-265.

AuthorsRivero, M. J., Balocchi, O. L., Neumann, F. L. and Siebald, J. A.
Abstract

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 fertilisation 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 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.

KeywordsHigh sugar grass; Lolium perenne; Defoliation regime; Nitrogen fertilisation; Herbage mass; Pasture yield; Dry matter intake; Pasture growth rate
Year of Publication2019
JournalAnimals
Journal citation9 (5), pp. 253-265
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.3390/ani9050253
PubMed ID31137542
Web address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/5/253
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Natural Environment Research Council
Funder project or codeBBSRC [Check]
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 May 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted16 May 2019
Copyright licenseCC BY
PublisherMDPI
ISSN2076-2615

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