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Title: Diet selection and productivity of sheep grazing contrasting pastures
Contributor(s): Chen, W. (author); Scott, James Murray  (author); Blair, Graeme John (author); Lefroy, R. (author); Hutchinson, Keith (author); King, Kathleen Lora  (author); Harris, C. (author)
Publication Date: 2002
DOI: 10.1071/AR01091
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Abstract: A grazing experiment was conducted at the Big Ridge 2 site CSIRO, Chiswick (30°31'S, 151°39'E), 20 km south of Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. The site was established in 1955. In March 1966, phalaris and white clover were sown and pastures were fertilised annually with superphosphate until 1993. There were 3 pasture treatments, each with 2 replicates: degraded pasture (low phalaris content), phalaris-dominant, and phalaris–white clover. The effect of pasture type on animal production (liveweight gain and wool) was only significant in 1996, when there were large differences in pasture composition and production between the 3 pasture types. n-Alkane based estimates showed that pasture degradation affected diet selection and nutrient intake and thus sheep production. The estimates in this study also showed no clear preference for a single pasture species over time and lack of strong preferential selection for clovers when sheep were grazing 3 contrasting pastures. Preferential selection of a particular species varied over time depending on the presence and availability of alternative species. Although there were large differences in total N and S intake and faecal output between the 3 pastures, the proportion of the dietary nutrient used for production was similar. This observation reveals the importance of further improving pasture and grazing management, particularly in productive phalaris–white clover pasture with high nutrient flux, to improve nutrient recycling through plant uptake and retention by animals in the grazing ecosystem, and reduce losses.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 53(5), p. 529-539
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1444-9838
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070299 Animal Production not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830399 Livestock Raising not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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