Pasture based grazing systems in New Zealand provide many benefits such as low costs of production but there are also limitations to current high stocking rate systems. These include inconsistent quality and composition of pasture and therefore animal diet. The requirements for high production and tolerance to frequent grazing limit the number of species which can be successfully grown. The rate of productivity improvement has declined in recent years and new methods of management are needed to increase production and meet changing market requirements. Altering methods of forage presentation has been shown to improve production of milk and meat from pasture by allowing animals to achieve a high daily intake of desirable species such as clover. Further new evidence of the capacity of animals to regulate their intake toward goals other than maximizing daily dry matter intake is presented. It is argued that new opportunities for increasing grassland productivity will need to consider the behavioural responses of animals grazing pasture.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 62, Palmerston North, 273-277, 2002
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