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Behavioural strategies of dairy cows grazing swards of different surface heights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2021

M.J. Gibb
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
C.A. Huckle
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
R. Nuthall
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
A.J. Rook
Affiliation:
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke, Okehampton, Devon EX20 2SB, UK
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Extract

Sward surface height (SSH) has a significant effect on bite mass in dairy cows grazing continuously stocked pastures (Gibb et al., 1995). To compensate for this, cows must either attempt to maintain intake rate by increasing bite rate, or increase the total time spent eating. Previous work (Gibb et al., 1995) showed that lactating cows had limited capacity to increase bite rate, but this work was not designed to examine whether animals altered bite mass or bite rate in response to different nutritional demands. An experiment was therefore conducted to compare the grazing behaviour of cows with high or low intake potential, over a range of SSH on continuously stocked swards.

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Copyright
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 1997

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References

Gibb, M.J., Rook, A.J., Huckle, C.A and Nuthall, R. 1995. The effect of sward surface height on grazing behaviour by lactating Holstein-Friesian cows. Animal Science 60: 516.Google Scholar
Huckle, C.A., Nuthall, R. and Gibb, M.J. 1994. The use of short-term weight changes to measure intake rates in grazing dairy cattle. Research Meeting No. 4, British Grassland Society, September 1994, pp 157158.Google Scholar
Rutter, S.M., Champion, R.A. and Penning, P.D. 1996. An automatic system to record foraging behaviour in free-ranging ruminants. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, in press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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