Voedingsnavorsing met die weidende dier

Author: E.A.N. Engels
Year: 1983
Issue: 4
Volume: 13
Page: 292 - 298

Nutrition research with grazing ruminants.

Native pasture is still the main source of feed supply for the sheep and beef cattle industries. Apparently an inadequate intake of digestible nutrients puts a limitation on animal production. Due to the seasonal pattern in rainfall any animal production system should take into account not only the needs of the animal but those of the plants as well. This is where the animal scientist and pasture scientist will have to join forces in research programmes. Information on the chemical composition of South African native pastures is given. Unfortunately the chemical analyses were done on samples of plant material collected manually. The shortcomings of such a practice are discussed. Very limited information on intake of digestible nutrients by grazing ruminants utilizing the pasture is available. Availability of pasture and its influence on feed consumption is discussed. An increase in intake with an increase in pasture availability is possibly the result of the greater ease of harvesting the material and the opportunity for selection giving rise to a higher concentration of nutrients in the diet. The performance of animals utilizing a pasture still remains the most reliable indication of its potential. When performance is unsatisfactory an estimation of digestible nutrient intake under grazing conditions becomes necessary. Some of the techniques for estimating feed intake of grazing ruminants are discussed briefly. Only with information on intake of digestible nutrients in relation to the needs of the grazing animal is it possible to develop sound supplementary feeding strategies.




Keywords: chemical composition, digestibility, feed intake, supplemental feedstuffs
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