The University of Arizona

Rotationally stocked beef cattle responses to daily and weekly residence.

N.S. Boyd, T. Astatkie, A.H. Fredeen, R.C. Martin

Abstract


Rotational stocking is a component of intensive pasture management and involves the systematic movement of animals among paddocks to optimize harvest of digestible nutrients. The optimum period of residence time for beef cattle in a paddock has not been researched in Atlantic Canada. A series of experiments were conducted at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College during the 1994, 1995, and 1996 grazing seasons to determine if short residence times (1 day) or longer residence times (6 or 7 days) encouraged higher average daily gains (ADG) in beef cattle. In 1994 and 1995, Hereford steers were used, and in 1996, Hereford heifers were used to compare the effects of daily and weekly residence times. In the mid to late season of 1994, a preliminary study with fewer replicates than in 1995 and 1996 indicated that the steers with a daily and weekly residence time gained 1.18 and 1.09 kg animal-1 day-1, respectively. Based on these results the project was expanded with the hypothesis that daily residence times result in higher average daily gains compared with weekly residence times. In both 1995 and 1996, cattle ADG for the first part of the season was higher with weekly residence times and similar near mid-season. Near the end of the grazing season the trend reversed with the daily residence time producing a higher cattle ADG. The results of this study indicate that animal performance could be maximized by long rotation cycles during periods of rapid forage growth and short rotation cycles during periods of slow forage growth. In all years, animals were finished on pasture with no visible yellow fat.

DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v54i1_boyd


Keywords


body fat;carcass quality;Nova Scotia;seasonal cycle;yellow fat;intensive livestock farming;Trifolium;frequency;liveweight gain;finishing;rotational grazing;biomass;botanical composition;beef cattle

Full Text:

PDF