Herbage intake and animal performance of cattle grazing dwarf elaphant grass with two access times to a forage peanut area
Ciência e Agrotecnologia
Relatively short grazing periods in a pure legume pasture can be an alternative for increasing animal performance in medium-quality tropical pastures. Thus, the aim was to evaluate the herbage intake and animal performance of steers grazing dwarf elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum Schum. cv. BRS Kurumi) with two access times [2 h (07:00 - 9:00) and 6 h (07:00 - 13:00)] to an area of forage peanut (Arachis pintoi cv. Amarillo). Twelve steers (219 ± 28.8 kg LW) were divided into four groups and
... nto four groups and assessed during three consecutive grazing cycles, from January to March 2013. The crude protein and neutral detergent fiber contents were 158 and 577 g/kg dry matter (DM) for dwarf elephant grass and 209 and 435 g/kg DM for forage peanut, respectively. The pre-grazing height and leaf mass of dwarf elephant grass and forage peanut were 94 cm and 2782 kg DM/ha and 15 cm and 1751 kg DM/ha, respectively. The herbage intake (mean = 2.7 ± 0.06% LW) and average daily weight gain (mean = 1.16 ± 0.31 kg/day) were similar for both treatments. However, animals with 2-h access to the legume paddock grazed for 71% of the time, whereas those with 6-h access grazed for 48% of the time. The performance of the steers that were allowed to graze forage peanut pasture for 2 h is similar to that of those that were allowed to graze the legume pasture for 6 h.