Ranchers may be able to tell how long to leave cattle in a pasture, and how large to make the pasture, by the height and leafiness of plants growing there, according to Stacey Gunter, research leader at the ARS Southern Plains Range Research Station in Woodward, Okla. He worked with former Ph.D. student Pablo Gregorini and colleagues at Woodward to demonstrate this approach with beef steers grazing in fenced-off corridors in wheat pastures.
The pastures were chosen to represent a range of natural variations in plant heights and upper plant leafiness. The steers were allowed to graze the corridors freely and were removed when they reached the end of the corridor, regardless of how much time the steers took. While grazing the corridors, each steer was videotaped and had two trained observers who counted bites and walking steps.
The reason for this real-life pasture study is that most studies of grazing behavior are done on "artificial seedings," specially planted pastures, or small plots that are fairly uniform. To provide the best possible recommendations to ranchers, Gunter and Gregorini integrated studies of the standard type with "in field" pasture conditions which are much less uniform.
Besides the taste and nutrition of large leaves, cattle like their food to be accessible, with leaves high on the plant and a minimum of stem interference with the cattle's tongues, which they use to wrap around and pull off leaves. Cattle faced with a nice canopy of luscious leaves took larger bites and were able to get their daily rations with lower calorie expenditure.
This resulted in greater eating efficiency. Gunter and Gregorini measured eating efficiency by dividing the total amount of pasture plants eaten per steer by the total eating time. This is known as herbage intake rate, a key determinant of weight gain for cattle grazing pasture.
The research was published in the Journal of Animal Science.
ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Don Comis, (301) 504-1625, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Comis | Newswise Science News
Microjet generator for highly viscous fluids
13.02.2018 | Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Sweet route to greater yields
08.02.2018 | Rothamsted Research
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy