The aim of this trial was to improve pasture growth rate and animal liveweight gains in the late autumn and early spring on a one year bull beef production system. The trial was conducted at the Tuapaka bull unit, Massey University, from 1 April to 30 September 1997. It compared three contrasting managements, operating on a total of 165 bulls stocked at 2.6 bull/ha. Treatment 1 followed a grazing plan based on the average pasture growth rate for the region, the animal requirements needed to achieve performance targets, and pasture mass targets (2700-2800 kg DM/ha and 1500-1600 kg DM/ha for late autumn and early spring, and 3000-3200 kg DM/ha and 1100-1200 kg DM/ha for winter for pre-grazing and post-grazing, respectively). Treatment 2 was managed according to the same pre-grazing and post-grazing targets. In this treatment the pasture targets were monitored daily, and bulls were shifted when the post-grazing targets were achieved. No supplement was used in Treatments 1 and 2. Treatment 3 followed traditional Tuapaka management, based on a 50 day rotation over the late autumn and winter, a 30 day rotation in August, and set stocking in September. Supplement was fed to this treatment as required in the winter. The overall liveweight gain (0.84 ± 0.02, 0.87 ± 0.02, 0.74 ± 0.01 kg LW/head/day for Treatments 1, 2, and 3 respectively) and final liveweight (354.7 ± 3.54, 359.8 ± 3.65, and 335.6 ± 3.27) were similar for Treatments 1 and 2 which were both significantly higher (P<0.001) than Treatment 3. Net herbage accumulation was significantly different (P<0.01) between Treatment 1 (6147 ± 369.3 kg DM/ha), Treatment 2 (7062 ± 319.9 kg DM/ha), and Treatment 3 (5277 ± 334.08 kg DM/ha). It was concluded that it is possible to improve both pasture production and bull beef performance when grazing is based on the management of prescribed sward conditions.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 58, , 236-238, 1998
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