Jump to Main Content
Dairy cows increase ingestive mastication and reduce ruminative chewing when grazing chicory and plantain
- Gregorini, P., Minnee, E.M.K., Griffiths, W., Lee, J.M.
- Journal of dairy science 2013 v.96 no.12 pp. 7798-7805
- Cichorium intybus, Holstein, Lolium perenne, Plantago lanceolata, body condition, body weight, cattle feeding, chicory, dairy cows, diet, dry matter intake, grazing, ingestion, mastication, milk, nutritive value, pastures, rumination, sward
- Although the nutritive value of chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) and plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) has been thoroughly studied, little is known about the grazing behavior of cattle feeding on chicory and plantain swards. The objective of the present study was to assess and describe the grazing behavior of dairy cows as affected by dietary proportions of chicory and plantain fed as monocultures for part of the day. Ninety Holstein-Friesian cows (489±42kg of body weight; 4.1±0.3 body condition score, and 216±15d in milk) were randomly assigned to 15 groups (6 cows per group) and grazed according to 7 treatments: control (CTL, 3 groups), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) dominant sward (24-h pasture strip); 3 chicory treatments comprising 20, 40, and 60% of the diet, strip-grazing a monoculture of chicory to a fixed postgrazing residual before strip-grazing a perennial ryegrass dominant sward (2 groups of cows per treatment); and 3 plantain treatments comprising 20, 40, and 60% of the diet, strip-grazing a monoculture of plantain to a fixed postgrazing residual before strip-grazing a perennial ryegrass dominant sward (2 groups of cows per treatment). Four focal animals per group were equipped with 3-dimensional motion sensors, which provided the number of steps taken at each minute of the day. These cows were also fitted with automatic jaw-movement recorders that identified bites, mastication during ingestion, chewing during rumination, and determined grazing, rumination and idling times and bouts. Daily grazing time and bouts were not affected by treatments but rumination time differed and was reduced by up to 90min when cows were allocated to chicory and plantain as 60% of their diet. Ruminative chewing was reduced in cows grazing chicory and plantain by up to 20% in cows allocated to the 60% treatments. Compared with perennial ryegrass, as the dietary proportion of chicory and plantain increased, cows spent more time idling and less time ruminating, and increased ingestive mastications 5 and 3 times for chicory and plantain, respectively. Cows allocated to chicory and plantain reduced bite rate and bites per grazing step linearly, and increased the number of mastications per bite of pasture dry matter intake while grazing pasture after having grazed chicory and plantain. These results indicate that cows grazing chicory and plantain masticate more during ingestion and reduce rumination time and chewing. They also suggest that chicory presents greater constraints to ingestion than does plantain. Thus, although chicory has been considered to have a greater nutritive value than plantain, its overall feeding value may be no greater than that of plantain.