Effects of Daily Herbage Allowance on Sward Structure, Herbage Intake and Milk Production by Dairy Cows Grazing a Pure Perennial Ryegrass Sward

  • Kim, T.H. ;
  • An, K.W. ;
  • Jung, W.J.
  • Received : 2000.11.14
  • Accepted : 2001.04.13
  • Published : 2001.10.01


To explore the factors restricting animal performance in relation to sward structure under a strip-grazing system, measurements of sward factors, herbage intake and milk production at 3 levels of herbage allowance were made on perennial ryegrass (Latium perenne L.) sward for 3 experimental periods. About 29%, 36% and 52% of the biomass offered was removed by grazing in high $(42kg\;OM{\cdot}day^{-1}{\cdot}head^{-1})$, medium $(30kg\;OM{\cdot}day^{-1}{\cdot}head^{-1})$ and low $(18kg\;OM{\cdot}day^{-1}{\cdot}head^{-1})$ herbage allowance plots. Live leaf material was much more affected by grazing under different herbage allowance levels than dead material or leaf sheath. Grazing with a low herbage allowance decreased the proportion of live lamina by 93% and live lamina density by 96% before grazing. The density of dead material plus sheath was decreased by 17% after grazing at a low allowance, while it slightly increased or remained constant in the plots applied with high and medium allowances, respectively. The highly significant (p<0.01) correlations between herbage allowance and proportion (r=0.94) and density (r=0.91) of live lamina in residual sward after grazing were observed. Daily herbage intakes in the plots with high and medium levels of herbage allowance were not significantly different at $15.3kg\;OM{\cdot}head^{-1}$ in average, whereas with low level it decreased to $13.9kg\;OM{\cdot}head^{-1}$. Daily milk production was significantly (p<0.05) declined from $22.3kg{\cdot}head^{-1}$ (at high herbage allowance) to $19.7kg{\cdot}head^{-1}$ (at low herbage allowance). The data obtained clearly indicated that herbage intake and milk production were highly affected by the characteristics of residual sward, which were closely related to the level of herbage allowance.


Daily Cows;Strip-Grazing;Herbage Allowance;Sward Structure;Herbage Intake;Milk Production

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