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Herbage utilisation efficiency of continuously stocked pastures during periods of restricted pasture growth

Tiago Miqueloto, Cauby de Medeiros Neto, Clovis David Medeiros Martins, Rodrigo Amorim Barbosa, Sila Carneiro Da Silva, André Fischer Sbrissia
Acta agriculturæ Scandinavica 2020 v.70 no.3 pp. 208-214
Urochloa humidicola, defoliation, forage, forage production, grazing, grazing management, pastures, spring, stocking rate, sward, tillers, tropics, Brazil
The aim of this study was to evaluate the defoliation patterns of individual tillers, efficiency of herbage utilisation, and forage production in continuously stocked Brachiaria humidicola cv. Comum swards during periods of the year of restricted pasture growth. The experiment was conducted at the Embrapa, Campo Grande-MS, Brazil, from April to October 2012. Treatments consisted of two grazing management strategies, defined by two ranges of sward height (10–15 and 20–25 cm) managed under continuous and variable stocking rates. The experiment was conducted as a completely randomised block design with three replications. During periods of resource constraints, grazing management strategies based on ‘steady state’ sward heights did not alter defoliation patterns, herbage utilisation efficiency (HUE), and forage production in Brachiaria humidicola swards under a continuous stocking method. A direct implication of our results is that grazing management strategies during the driest and coldest periods of the year in the tropics should be developed based on the conditions most suitable for better promoting faster pasture recovery and a return to production in the following spring; it is unlikely that any grazing management strategy would be successful in increasing herbage production and/or HUE in periods of restricted pasture growth.