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Sward structure and rate of forage intake of elephant grass cv. Napier subjected to rotational grazing strategies

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Eliana Vera Geremia
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALA/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Sila Carneiro da Silva; Valdo Rodrigues Herling; Flavio Augusto Portela Santos
Advisor: Sila Carneiro da Silva

In nature, during thousands of year of co-existence, forage grasses and herbivores underwent a co-evolution process that resulted in multiple survival strategies and adaptations. Management practices that interfere with the way forage is presented to animals (sward structure) may cause changes in patterns of search and consumption of herbage, affecting animal performance. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate sward structure and rate of herbage intake of rotationally stocked elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureumSchum., cv. Napier). The experiment was carried out at Escola Superior de Agricultura \"Luiz de Queiroz\", Piracicaba, SP, Brazil, from January 2011 to April 2012. Treatments corresponded to combinations between two post- (post-grazing heights of 35 and 45 cm) and two pre-grazing swards conditions (95% and maximum canopy light interception - LI), and were allocated to experimental units (870 m2 paddocks) according to a 2x2 factorial arrangement in a complete randomised block design, with four replications. The following response variables were evaluated in both pre- and post-grazing conditions: vertical distribution of morphological components of sward herbage mass, bite rate, bite mass, rate of intake and nutritive value of the consumed herbage (morphological and chemical composition of extrusa samples). Sward structure strongly influenced bite mass, bite rate and rate of intake regardless of treatment and season of the year. At pre-grazing, in spite of the larger bite mass on swards managed with the pre-grazing target LIMax, there was no difference in rate of intake between LI targets, consequence of the higher bite rate recorded on swards managed with the pre-grazing target LI95%. At post-grazing, there was no difference in rate of intake between LI targets, with variations in bite rate used to compensate variations in bite mass. Post-grazing targets altered the morphological and chemical composition of the consumed herbage, which also varied with season of the year. Overall, swards managed with the pre-grazing target LI95% and the 45 cm post-grazing height resulted in larger percentage of leaves in the extrusa, favouring higher rates of intake and nutritive value of the herbage consumed. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/03968-0 - Structural characteristics and rate of herbage intake in elephant grass cv. Napier (Pennisetum purpureum Schum.) subjected to strategies of rotational grazing management
Grantee:Eliana Vera Geremia
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master