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Stocking density of cattle and herbage production on mediterranean grassland

Stocking density of cattle and herbage production on mediterranean grassland

Journal of Agricultural Science 113(1): 51-58

A Mediterranean grassland was grazed with beef cattle at 0.cntdot.5, 0.cntdot.67 and 0.cntdot.83 cows/ha, all the year round for 5 years. Range forage became increasingly scarce during the dry season, especially at high stocking density, and more supplementation was needed to maintain the animals. Herbage consumption was calculated from standard requirements for recorded body weight and performance. Maintenance requirements were multiplied by a grazing activity factor of 1.cntdot.6. Mean annual herbage dry matter production was estimated at c. 3.cntdot.06.+-.0.cntdot.137 t/ha. Most of the variation between years was due to a particularly productive year in 1978. Contrary to expectation, stocking density had a small effect on total herbage production, despite significant differences in animal performance. It appears that herbage production of the seasonally temperate herbaceous range, typical of the basaltic hills in eastern Galilee in Israel, is not limited by total annual rainfall. Alternative limiting factors are nutrient deficiency and restricted rooting zone, or a combination of both.

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Accession: 007821669

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DOI: 10.1017/s0021859600084604

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