Skip to main content Accessibility help

Time to move beef cattle to a new paddock: forage quality and grazing behaviour

  • F. C. Leite De Oliveira (a1), J. M. D. Sanchez (a2), J. M. B. Vendramini (a2), C. G. Lima (a3), P. H. C. Luz (a1), C. O. Rocha (a1), L. E. T. Pereira (a1) and V. R. Herling (a1)...


Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: V. R. Herling, E-mail:


Hide All
Abrahamse, PA, Dijkstra, J, Vlaeminck, B and Tamminga, S (2008) Frequent allocation of rotationally grazed dairy cows changes grazing behavior and improves productivity. Journal of Dairy Science 91, 20332045.
Abrahamse, PA, Tamminga, S and Dijkstra, J (2009) Effect of daily movement of dairy cattle to fresh grass in morning or afternoon on intake, grazing behaviour, rumen fermentation and milk production. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 147, 721730.
AOAC (2012) Official Methods of Analysis of AOAC International, 19th Edn. Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA: AOAC International.
Burns, JC, Mayland, HF and Fischer, DS (2005) Dry matter intake and digestion of alfalfa harvested at sunset and sunrise. Journal of Animal Science 83, 262270.
Caminha, FO, Silva, SC, Paiva, AJ, Pereira, LET, Mesquita, P and Guarda, VD (2010) Stability of tiller population of continuously stocked Marandu palisadegrass fertilized with nitrogen. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 45, 213220.
Ciavarella, TA, Dove, H, Leury, BJ and Simpson, RJ (2000) Diet selection by sheep grazing Phalaris aquatica L. pastures of differing water-soluble carbohydrate content. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 51, 757764.
Da Trindade, JK, da Silva, SC, de Souza Júnior, SJ, Giacomini, AA, Zeferino, CV, Guarda, VDA and Carvalho, PCF (2007) Morphological composition of the herbage consumed by beef cattle during the grazing down process of Marandu palisadegrass subjected to rotational strategies. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 42, 883890.
Da Trindade, JK, Carvalho, PCF, Neves, FP, Pinto, CE, Gonda, HL, Nadin, LB and Correia, LHS (2011) Potential of an acoustic method for quantifying the activities of grazing cattle. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 46, 965968.
Delagarde, R, Peyraud, JL, Delaby, L and Faverdin, P (2000) Vertical distribution of biomass, chemical composition and pepsin–cellulase digestibility in a perennial ryegrass sward: interaction with month of year, regrowth age and time of day. Animal Feed Science and Technology 84, 4968.
de Oliveira, LP, Paiva, A, Pereira, LET, Geremia, EV and da Silva, SC (2014) Morning and afternoon sampling and herbage chemical composition of rotationally stocked elephant grass cv. Napier. Tropical Grasslands – Forrajes Tropicales 2, 106107.
Euclides, VPB, Macedo, MCM and Oliveira, MP (1992) Evaluation of different sampling methods for estimating forage nutritive value under grazing. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 21, 691702.
Euclides, VPB, Cardoso, EG, Macedo, MCM and Oliveira, MP (2000) Voluntary intake of Brachiaria decumbens cv. Basilisk e Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu under grazing. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 29, 22002208.
Fischer, DS, Mayland, HF and Burns, JC (1999) Variation in ruminants’ preference for tall fescue hays cut either at sundown or at sunup. Journal of Animal Science 77, 762768.
Fischer, DS, Mayland, HF and Burns, JC (2002) Variation in ruminant preference for alfalfa hays cut at sunup and sundown. Crop Science 42, 231237.
Giacomini, AA, da Silva, SC, Sarmento, DOL, Zeferino, CV, Souza Júnior, SJ, da Trindade, JK, del'Alamo Guarda, V and da Nascimento Júnior, D (2009) Growth of marandu palisadegrass subjected to strategies of intermittent stocking. Scientia Agricola 66, 733741.
Gimenes, FMA, da Silva, SC, Fialho, CA, Gomes, MB, Berndt, A, Gerdes, L and Colozza, MT (2011) Weight gain and animal productivity on Marandu palisade grass under rotational stocking and nitrogen fertilization. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 46, 751759.
Gregorini, P (2012) Diurnal grazing pattern: its physiological basis and strategic management. Animal Production Science 52, 416430.
Gregorini, P, Eirin, M, Refi, R, Ursino, M, Ansin, OE and Gunter, SA (2006) Timing of herbage allocation in strip grazing: effects on grazing pattern and performance of beef heifers. Journal of Animal Science 84, 19431950.
Gregorini, P, Gunter, SA, Masino, CA and Beck, PA (2007) Effects of ruminal fill on short-term herbage intake rate and grazing dynamics of beef heifers. Grass and Forage Science 62, 346354.
Griggs, TC, MacAdam, JW, Mayland, HF and Burns, JC (2005) Nonstructural carbohydrate and digestibility patterns in orchardgrass swards during daily defoliation sequences initiated in evening and morning. Crop Science 45, 12951304.
Hall, MB (2000) Neutral Detergent-Soluble Carbohydrates: Nutritional Relevance and Analysis. A Laboratory Manual. University of Florida Extension Bulletin 339. Gainesville, FL, USA: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida. Available online from: (Accessed 17 January 2019).
Hall, MB (2003) Challenges with nonfiber carbohydrate methods. Journal of Animal Science 81, 32263232.
Herling, VR, Pedreira, CGS, Luz, PHC, Braga, GJ, Marchesin, WA, Macedo, FB and De Lima, CG (2011) Performance and productivity of Nellore steers on rotationally stocked palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha) pastures in response to herbage allowance. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 149, 761768.
Hodgson, JG (1990) Grazing Management: Science into Practice. Harlow, Essex, UK: Longman Scientific & Technical.
Hoogendoorn, CJ, Holmes, CW and Chu, ACP (1992) Some effects of herbage composition, as influenced by previous grazing management, on milk production by cows grazing on ryegrass/white clover pastures. 2. Milk production in late spring/summer: effects of grazing intensity during the preceding spring period. Grass and Forage Science 47, 316325.
Linnane, MI, Brereton, AJ and Giller, PS (2001) Seasonal changes in circadian grazing patterns of Kerry cows (Bos taurus) in semi-feral conditions in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 71, 277292.
Littell, RC, Henry, PR and Ammerman, CB (1998) Statistical analysis of repeated measures data using SAS procedures. Journal of Animal Science 76, 12161231.
Mauricio, RM, Mould, FL, Dhanoa, MS, Owen, E, Channa, KS and Theodorou, MK (1999) Semi automated in vitro gas production technique for ruminant feedstuff evaluation. Animal Feed Science and Technology 79, 321330.
Mayland, HF, Shewmaker, GE, Harrison, PA and Chatterton, NJ (2000) Nonstructural carbohydrates in tall fescue cultivars: relationship to animal preference. Agronomy Journal 92, 12031206.
Mesquita, P, da Silva, SC, Paiva, AJ, Caminha, FO, Pereira, LET, Del'Alamo Guarda, V and do Nascimento Júnior, D (2010) Structural characteristics of Marandu palisadegrass canopy subjected to continuous stocking and contrasting rhythms of growth. Scientia Agricola 67, 2330.
Mezzalira, JC, Carvalho, PCF, Fonseca, L, Bremm, C, Reffatti, MV, Poli, CHEC and da Trindade, JK (2011) Methodological aspects of ingestive behavior of grazing cattle. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 40, 11141120.
Mott, GO and Lucas, HL (1952) The design, conduct, and interpretation of grazing trials on cultivated and improved pastures. In Proceedings of the 6 th International Grassland Congress. Hershey, PA, USA: Pennsylvania State College Press, pp. 13801385.
Nanamori, M, Shinano, T, Wasaki, J, Yamamura, T, Rao, IM and Osaki, M (2004) Low phosphorus tolerance mechanisms: phosphorus recycling and photosynthate partitioning in the tropical forage grass, Brachiaria hybrid cultivar mulato compared with rice. Plant Cell Physiology 45, 460469.
Orr, RJ, Penning, PD, Harvey, A and Champion, RA (1997) Diurnal patterns of intake rate by sheep grazing monocultures of ryegrass or white clover. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 52, 6577.
Orr, RJ, Rutter, SM, Penning, PD and Rook, AJ (2001) Matching grass supply to grazing patterns for dairy cows. Grass and Forage Science 56, 352361.
Peel, MC, Finlayson, BL and McMahon, TA (2007) Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification. Hydrology Earth System Sciences 11, 16331644.
Pelletier, S, Tremblay, GF, Belanger, G, Bertrand, A, Castonguay, Y and Michaud, R (2010) Drying procedures affect nonstructural carbohydrates and other nutritive value attributes in forage samples. Animal Feed Science and Technology 157, 139150.
Sollenberger, LE and Burns, JC (2001) Canopy characteristics, ingestive behaviour, and herbage intake in cultivated tropical grasslands. In Gomide, JA, Mattos, WRS and da Silva, SC (eds), Proceedings of the 19th International Grassland Congress. São Pedro, Brazil: Brazilian Society of Animal Husbandry Press, pp. 321327.
Sollenberger, LE, Moore, JE, Allen, VG and Pedreira, CGS (2005) Reporting forage allowance in grazing experiments. Crop Science 45, 896900.
Theodorou, MK, Willians, BA, Dhanoa, MS, McAllan, AB and France, J (1994) A simple gas production method using a pressure transducer to determine the fermentation kinetics of ruminant feeds. Animal Feed Science and Technology 48, 185197.
Trevaskis, LM, Fulkerson, WJ and Nandra, KS (2004) Effect of time of feeding carbohydrate supplements and pasture on production of dairy cows. Livestock Production Science 85, 275285.
Van Soest, PJ, Robertson, JB and Lewis, BA (1991) Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science 74, 35833597.
Wade, MH, Peyraud, JL, Comeron, EA and Lemaire, G (1995) The dynamics of daily milk production and the canopy height under paddock grazing conditions. Annales de Zootechnie 44, (Suppl. 1), 127.
Wilm, HG, Costello, DF and Klipple, GE (1944) Estimating forage yield by the double-sampling methods. Journal of the American Society of Agronomy 36, 194203.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed