In Brazil forage production is key and the main land used and support the largest commercial cattle herd in the world. However, the management practices used in commercial systems are mostly based on empirical concepts which rarely take into account the knowledge about the physiology of forage plants. These systems are characterized by low use of technology by farmers who often do not see the pasture as a crop that requires inputs as any other, and this contributes to pasture degradation. Additionally, new forage materials are released and quickly distributed among producers, even without specific technical and scientific information about their management. Thus, management practices established for grasses that are similar, are adopted for these new materials, limiting their potential use, as differences among forage genotypes, however small, imply the need for distinct management strategies and techniques. Mulato II brachiariagrass (Brachiaria hybrid CIAT 36087) was recently released by CIAT. This material has attracted a great deal of interest from producers due to its yield potential and forage nutritive value. However, there is little information about the management and productive responses of Mulato II brachiariagrass to grazing, considering the range of defoliation strategies and intensification levels in production systems. An experiment will be conducted at the Department of Animal Science ESALQ / USP, in order to determine and characterize morphological and productive aspects of Mulato II in response to defoliation strategies and rates of growth dictated by N input under continuous stocking. Three defoliation intensities (10, 25 and 40 cm, held constant) in combination with two N rates (50 and 250 kg) will be tested following a factorial arrangement (3 x 2) in a randomized complete block design, totalling 18 experimental units. Responses evaluated will include herbage accumulation, tiller density, plant-part composition and sward structural characteristics.
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