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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Vegetation type selected by cattle grazing heterogeneous semi-natural pastures

Pelve Maja, Spörndly Eva


Three 10-15 ha paddocks with heterogeneous semi-natural pasture, grazed by Hereford suckler cows with calves or Swedish Friesian and Swedish Red, were used in the study. In each paddock, sub-areas with different vegetation types were identified and mapped: dry, mesic, wet, wooded and previously cultivated. In each of the five vegetation types in all three paddocks, three 1 x 1 m plots were established where nutrient content and botanical composition were analysed. The time the animals spent grazing on the different vegetation types was studied. Registrations of the vegetation type that cattle selected were performed every five minutes during four grazing hours, three consecutive days in June, July and August. The animal behaviour data was analysed in a statistical model that included vegetation type and the proportion of pasture area each vegetation type represented. Neither the effect of paddock nor of month was significant. The highest nutrient content (energy and crude protein) of the available herbage could be found in the previously cultivated areas, and the results show that the animals chose to graze previously cultivated vegetation on 68% of the total 990 observations


grazing; semi-natural pasture; selection; vegetation type

Published in

Book title: Biodiversity and animal feed : future challenges for grassland production : book of abstracts : 22nd general meeting of the European Grassland Federation, Uppsala, Sweden, 9-12 June 2008
ISBN: 978-91-85911-47-9
Publisher: Organizing Committee of the 22nd General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation


22nd General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation