Two management methods for wintering dry cows on pasture (block and paddock) were compared at the Taranaki Agricultural Research Station over a 45 day period. Treatment effects on aggressive behaviour, grazing behaviour and liveweight gain were measured in addition to effects on pasture treading damage and subsequent herbage accumulation. The block grazed group had an area of 25 m2/cow/day, and were confined to a new area (0.1 ha) of pasture each day. The paddock grazed group had an area of 125 m2/cow/day, grazing the total paddock area (0.5 ha) over five days. There were 32 cows and 8 heifers in each treatment group. Agonistic activity in the paddock group was 50% lower in week one and 28% lower in week six, than the block group. Paddock cows and heifers gained more liveweight (p<0.01) than block cows and heifers; 0.22 and 0.24 kg/animal/day more respectively. Herbage accumulation over the subsequent three months (July - September) was 290 kg DM/ha lower (p<0.05) on the paddock grazed areas compared to block grazed areas. Paddock grazing reduced agonistic activity among heifers and cows and gave higher liveweight gains. Some of this advantage could possibly be negated by lower herbage accumulation in the subsequent three months.

TG, Judd, NA Thomson, and ML Barnes

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 54, , 91-94, 1994
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