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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Grazing behavior of ruminants and daily performance from warm-season grasses
Year: 2002
Author(s): Burns, J. C., Sollenberger, L. E.
Source Title: Crop Science
Source Type: Journal
pages: 873-881
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: An estimate of the animal-production potential of pastures can be assessed by knowing the daily dry matter (DM) intake of the grazing animal and the digestibility of the DM consumed. The objective of this paper is to examine the relationships between pasture canopy characteristics, ingestive behavior, and daily animal response from warm-season pastures. Of daily DM intake and digestibility of the DM consumed, the former is the most variable and the most difficult to determine. One approach to estimating daily DM intake has been to use the components of ingestive behavior to determine a shortterm intake rate (g min(-1)), which can be scaled using grazing time (min d(-1)) to give a 24-h DM intake (kg d-1). This approach has been used experimentally with some success, but has not found application in production settings. While aspects of ingestive behavior, including ingestive mastication, are common to all grazing ruminants, literature indicates that differences occur among ruminant species and that animals ingest different pasture species differently. This results in plant-animal interactions. Frequently these dynamics are not clearly addressed for cool-season and warm-season pastures in literature reviews, which adds undue confusion to the general area. Ingestive behavior is discussed relative to animal- and pasture-generated bounds which operate within paddocks and can greatly alter ingestive behavior estimates. Also presented are relationships between diet particle size, associated with ingestive mastication, and steer daily gains.