Correcting fresh grass allowance for rejected patches due to excreta in intensive grazing systems for dairy cows

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Abstract

Dairy farms with intensive grazing systems combine grazing with supplemental feeding, which can be challenging because an incorrect balance between fresh grass allowance and feed supplementation results in inefficient use of the pasture, lower feed efficiency, and potential decreases in animal production. When estimating fresh grass allowance, we currently do not correct for the formation of rejected patches (RP) surrounding excreta, which can lead to overestimation of the potential fresh grass intake and hampers optimal grazing. In this study, therefore, we aim to quantify the formation of RP in intensive grazing systems and improve the quantification of fresh grass allowance. To do so, we studied 2 grazing systems (i.e., compartmented continuous grazing and strip grazing) that differ in key grazing characteristics, such as pre- and post-grazing heights and period of regrowth. The experiment was performed from April to October in 2016 and 2017 with 60 dairy cows at a fixed stocking rate of 7.5 cows/ha. Average pre-grazing grass height was measured with a rising plate meter. To quantify the formation of RP after grazing, individual grass height measurements were conducted after grazing and classified as RP or not, based on visual assessment. Our analysis showed that the average percentage of grassland covered with RP increased from around 22% at the end of May to around 43% at the end of July/beginning of August, and these percentages do not differ across grazing systems. The percentage of grassland covered with RP should be subtracted from the total grazed area to better estimate true fresh grass allowance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10451-10459
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume102
Issue number11
Early online date5 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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excreta
Poaceae
dairy cows
grazing
grasses
grasslands
animal production
regrowth
stocking rate
dairy farming
dietary supplements
feed conversion
pastures

Keywords

  • fresh grass allowance
  • intensive grazing
  • rejected patches
  • rising plate meter

Cite this

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title = "Correcting fresh grass allowance for rejected patches due to excreta in intensive grazing systems for dairy cows",
abstract = "Dairy farms with intensive grazing systems combine grazing with supplemental feeding, which can be challenging because an incorrect balance between fresh grass allowance and feed supplementation results in inefficient use of the pasture, lower feed efficiency, and potential decreases in animal production. When estimating fresh grass allowance, we currently do not correct for the formation of rejected patches (RP) surrounding excreta, which can lead to overestimation of the potential fresh grass intake and hampers optimal grazing. In this study, therefore, we aim to quantify the formation of RP in intensive grazing systems and improve the quantification of fresh grass allowance. To do so, we studied 2 grazing systems (i.e., compartmented continuous grazing and strip grazing) that differ in key grazing characteristics, such as pre- and post-grazing heights and period of regrowth. The experiment was performed from April to October in 2016 and 2017 with 60 dairy cows at a fixed stocking rate of 7.5 cows/ha. Average pre-grazing grass height was measured with a rising plate meter. To quantify the formation of RP after grazing, individual grass height measurements were conducted after grazing and classified as RP or not, based on visual assessment. Our analysis showed that the average percentage of grassland covered with RP increased from around 22{\%} at the end of May to around 43{\%} at the end of July/beginning of August, and these percentages do not differ across grazing systems. The percentage of grassland covered with RP should be subtracted from the total grazed area to better estimate true fresh grass allowance.",
keywords = "fresh grass allowance, intensive grazing, rejected patches, rising plate meter",
author = "Klootwijk, {Cindy W.} and Gertjan Holshof and {de Boer}, {Imke J.M.} and {Van den Pol-Van Dasselaar}, Agnes and Bas Engel and {Van Middelaar}, {Corina E.}",
year = "2019",
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doi = "10.3168/jds.2018-16120",
language = "English",
volume = "102",
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journal = "Journal of Dairy Science",
issn = "0022-0302",
publisher = "American Dairy Science Association",
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T1 - Correcting fresh grass allowance for rejected patches due to excreta in intensive grazing systems for dairy cows

AU - Klootwijk, Cindy W.

AU - Holshof, Gertjan

AU - de Boer, Imke J.M.

AU - Van den Pol-Van Dasselaar, Agnes

AU - Engel, Bas

AU - Van Middelaar, Corina E.

PY - 2019/11

Y1 - 2019/11

N2 - Dairy farms with intensive grazing systems combine grazing with supplemental feeding, which can be challenging because an incorrect balance between fresh grass allowance and feed supplementation results in inefficient use of the pasture, lower feed efficiency, and potential decreases in animal production. When estimating fresh grass allowance, we currently do not correct for the formation of rejected patches (RP) surrounding excreta, which can lead to overestimation of the potential fresh grass intake and hampers optimal grazing. In this study, therefore, we aim to quantify the formation of RP in intensive grazing systems and improve the quantification of fresh grass allowance. To do so, we studied 2 grazing systems (i.e., compartmented continuous grazing and strip grazing) that differ in key grazing characteristics, such as pre- and post-grazing heights and period of regrowth. The experiment was performed from April to October in 2016 and 2017 with 60 dairy cows at a fixed stocking rate of 7.5 cows/ha. Average pre-grazing grass height was measured with a rising plate meter. To quantify the formation of RP after grazing, individual grass height measurements were conducted after grazing and classified as RP or not, based on visual assessment. Our analysis showed that the average percentage of grassland covered with RP increased from around 22% at the end of May to around 43% at the end of July/beginning of August, and these percentages do not differ across grazing systems. The percentage of grassland covered with RP should be subtracted from the total grazed area to better estimate true fresh grass allowance.

AB - Dairy farms with intensive grazing systems combine grazing with supplemental feeding, which can be challenging because an incorrect balance between fresh grass allowance and feed supplementation results in inefficient use of the pasture, lower feed efficiency, and potential decreases in animal production. When estimating fresh grass allowance, we currently do not correct for the formation of rejected patches (RP) surrounding excreta, which can lead to overestimation of the potential fresh grass intake and hampers optimal grazing. In this study, therefore, we aim to quantify the formation of RP in intensive grazing systems and improve the quantification of fresh grass allowance. To do so, we studied 2 grazing systems (i.e., compartmented continuous grazing and strip grazing) that differ in key grazing characteristics, such as pre- and post-grazing heights and period of regrowth. The experiment was performed from April to October in 2016 and 2017 with 60 dairy cows at a fixed stocking rate of 7.5 cows/ha. Average pre-grazing grass height was measured with a rising plate meter. To quantify the formation of RP after grazing, individual grass height measurements were conducted after grazing and classified as RP or not, based on visual assessment. Our analysis showed that the average percentage of grassland covered with RP increased from around 22% at the end of May to around 43% at the end of July/beginning of August, and these percentages do not differ across grazing systems. The percentage of grassland covered with RP should be subtracted from the total grazed area to better estimate true fresh grass allowance.

KW - fresh grass allowance

KW - intensive grazing

KW - rejected patches

KW - rising plate meter

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