Rotational grazing by 8 Ile de France ewes, was examined in a cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata cv. Lucifer) sward at a vegetative or reproductive (appearance of first flowerheads in the canopy) stage. Measurements were made during progressive grazing down of 1030-msuperscript 2 paddocks. Regression of DM intake/bite, IB, on sward surface height or herbage mass/ha differed between swards. In contrast, IB increased linearly with green leaf DM mass/ha by 53 mg, regardless of the phenological stage of the sward. On the vegetative structure, time per bite, TB, was linearly related to IB, ranging from 0.92 to 1.80 s; on the reproductive structure, TB ranged from 1.15 to 1.95 s. Below 150 mg DM of IB, TB was higher on the reproductive than on the vegetative structure. On the vegetative structure, intake rate, RI, ranged from 1100 to 9900 mg DM/min, and increased curvilinearly with green leaf mass (t DM/ha) or sward surface height (mm). On the reproductive sward, RI ranged from 1700 to 8700 mg DM/min, increasing linearly with green leaf mass or sward surface height, with no differences between sheep. It is suggested that green leaf mass can be used as a predictor of DM intake/bite through different stages of maturity of temperate swards.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Laboratoire Adaptation des Herbivores aux Milieux, Centre de Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, 63122, St Genes Champanelle, France.|
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