Evaluation of grass and legume tropical mixtures and performance of grazed sheep

Author: R.L. Moura, M.E. Oliveira, W.F. Carvalho, M.M. Rodrigues, M.S. Santos, R.L. Edvan, A.L. Abdalla, M.Z. Moreira & E.M. Silva
Year: 2022
Issue: 1
Volume: 52
Page: 23 - 33

The objective of this research was to determine the pasture structure, nutritional value, animal behaviour, intake, and performance of Santa Inês sheep grazing pastures with various mixtures of grass (Andropogon gayanus) and forage legume (Stylosanthes sp. and Calopogonium mucunoides). A randomized block design was adopted with the treatments arranged in a 3 x 2 factorial scheme, with the factors consisting of cropping systems and grazing cycles. Grass in the mixed species pastures had a greater leaf/stem ratio than in the monoculture. Total forage mass was greater in the mixed pastures, which had the highest concentrations of crude protein and total digestible nutrients, the lowest fibre concentration, and the highest in vitro dry matter digestibility. Legumes were grazed with the highest frequency, and biting rate was highest in Andropogon gayanus with Stylosanthes sp. The highest intake (kg/day) was found in the mixed swards and the highest animal weight gain (143 g/day) in the mixed pastures. The pastures of Andropogon gayanus mixed with Stylosanthes sp. and C. mucunoides showed improved forage nutritive value and intake compared with the grass monoculture.

Keywords: Andropogon gayanus, Animal production, Calopogonium mucunoides, Stylosanthes spp., tropical grass
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