Botanical analyses of trials grazed at 3·6, 2·4, 1·2, 0·8 and 0·6 ha/300 kg animal for 4 years are detailed. The two heaviest grazing pressures encouraged Brachiaria decumbens, a high quality grass, at the expense of Themeda triandra and Hyparrhenia filipendula. Rotational grazing allowed the weed grass Cymbopogon afronardus to regenerate after clearing more rapidly than did continuous grazing.
Bullocks with oesophageal fistulas sampled pastures grazed at 2·4, 1·2 and 0·6 ha/animal at 4-weekly intervals for 12 months. The 0·6 ha/animal treatment was repeated on pasture cleared of the weed grass Cymbopogon afronardus. Cattle growth rates, both long term and at the time of sampling, were recorded.
Cattle growth rates were greatest at 2·4 ha/animal but fistula sampling demonstrated that the diet was significantly lower in CP and higher in CF than the more heavily stocked treatments, which is contrary to the normal pattern. It is concluded that the differences in cattle growth rates at the different stocking rates were due to differences in dry-matter intake rather than the recorded differences in diet quality. The higher CP in the diet at the heavier stocking rates is ascribed to the increase of B. decumbens in the diet.
An unexplained ceiling to cattle growth rates of ca. 0·5 kg/day, and a calculated drymatter intake of < 2·1% body weight/day, in the presence of unlimited forage of 10% CP and 55% apparent digestibility, makes it more economic to stock for maximum production per ha than per animal.