Biomass flows and defoliation pattern of ryegrass grazed by supplemented heifers

Sheila Cristina Bosco Stivanin, Marta Gomes da Rocha, Luciana Pötter, Viviane da Silva Hampel, Marcos Bernardino Alves, Paulo Roberto Salvador, Érica Dambrós de Moura, Lidiane Raquel Eloy


To strategically define the best stocking rate management strategy for ryegrass, it is important to know the growth process of forage plants in detail. The study was conducted to analyze the leaf biomass flows and the defoliation intensity and frequency of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam) grazed by heifers fed exclusively on pasture or on pasture and supplemented with corn or white oat grain. The experimental design was completely randomized following a repeated measures arrangement with three feeding systems and three area replications. Biomass flows (kg DM leaf blades ha1 day1) for leaf growth (40.6), leaf senescence (40.7), and leaf intake (29.7) were similar in the different feeding systems. Leaf blade intake adjusted to body weight was lower in supplemented heifers regardless of grain type. Actual and potential utilization efficiencies and ryegrass biomass net balance were not affected by feeding system. The leaf intake flow was 1.4 times lower than the growth flow, resulting in an actual utilization efficiency less than one (0.7), whereas the senescence flow was higher than the growth flow, resulting in a negative potential utilization efficiency (0.2). Leaf defoliation intensity was similar (54.4%) across feeding systems and defoliation frequency was higher in supplemented heifers. The 29.2% increase in stocking rate of heifers fed corn or oat grain as supplement did not affect the dynamics of ryegrass biomass flows, but reduced leaf blade intake adjusted to heifer body weight leading to alterations in the defoliation frequency of ryegrass pasture.


Corn grain; Leaf blade intake; Net balance; Oat grain; Potential utilization efficiency.

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Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433/1679-0359
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional