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Dietary selection by steers grazing kikuyu

Dietary selection by steers grazing kikuyu

South African Journal of Animal Science 21(4): 194-197

Dietary selection trials were conducted on kikuyu pastures while being grazed for a period of 3.5 days in a four-week rotation, at stocking rates of 3.5 6.2 and 8.3 animals per hectare. The pasture was fertilized with 210 kg N/ha, split into three dressings over the season. The samples collected, namely fistula, available herbage, leaf and stem fractions, were analysed for crude protein, crude fibre and in vitro digestibility. Multiple regression analysis of the data showed that neither stocking rate, nor day of stay, nor season exerted a significant influence on the herbage selected by the grazing animal, relative to that on offer. The protein, fibre and digestible dry-matter contents of the selected material were significantly correlated with the levels in both the herbage and leaf fractions, but not with that in the stem fraction. Material with higher digestibility and fibre content than that of the herbage available, was selected. The protein levels in the fistula-selected samples were higher than the mean of the available herbage at low levels of herbage protein, whereas at high levels of herbage protein (CP > 15%), the protein levels of the selected samples were lower than the mean of the herbage available.

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Accession: 002072102

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