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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., Scott, S.L., Robins, C., Khakbazan, M., Block, H.C. (2015). Effects of resting perennial pastures during the sensitive pre-dormancy period in western manitoba: Pasture productivity and beef cattle performance, 95(2), 129-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/CJAS-2014-046

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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