Effects of resting perennial pastures during the sensitive pre-dormancy period in western manitoba: Pasture productivity and beef cattle performance.

Durunna, O.N., Baron, V.S., Scott, S.L., Robins, C.D., Khakbazan, M., and Block, H.C. (2015). "Effects of resting perennial pastures during the sensitive pre-dormancy period in western manitoba: Pasture productivity and beef cattle performance.", Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 95(2), pp. 129-141. doi : 10.4141/CJAS-2014-046  Access to full text

Abstract

The objective of this experiment was to determine whether avoiding grazing during the sensitive pre-dormancy period (ca. 6 wk prior to a dormancy-inducing frost) would improve forage production, stand quality, alfalfa persistence and animal productivity in perennial pastures. There were two pasture species (PS), alfalfa–grass (AG) or grass (G), and three grazing phases. Phase I was conventional rotational grazing of all AG and G sections. In Phase II, one half of AG and G was rotationally grazed (conventional treatment, CT) while the other half was not (rested treatment, RT). Resting AG and G in Phase II required transferring RT animals to swath-graze early-seeded cereals. In Phase III, RT animals that swath-grazed in Phase II were moved to graze the rested sections of the pastures while those that grazed the unrested sections (CT animals) were transferred to swath-graze late-seeded cereals. There was no PS (P>0.05) or rest period (P>0.13) effect on total forage yield, carrying capacity, forage disappearance and forage residues. There was no effect (P>0.13) of resting on botanical composition or yield in AG. The current study did not observe significant benefits of resting on pasture yield, botanical composition or animal performance.

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