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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Activity and weight gain of free-ranging beef cattle in south-boreal forests of Norway.

Tofastrud, M; Hegnes, H; Hessle, Anna; Zimmermann, Barbara


The Norwegian beef cattle population has grown steadily over the last ten years, resulting in an increased interest in using coniferous forests as summer grazing areas. We attached collars, programmed to take GPS positions and two-dimensional activity measures every 5 min, to free-ranging beef cows grazing in an area of high and low stocking rate in one and two summers, respectively. The cattle were weighed before and after the grazing period. Data from the collars were calibrated with direct observations and classified into the three main activities: grazing, walking and resting. Lactating cows spent more time grazing (on average 38 vs 32%) and less time resting (58 vs 63%) than dry cows. In the area of high stocking rate, the weight gain of calves was only 67% of that of calves in the area with low stocking densities. The weight gain of the cows was positive in the low stocking area in 2015, close to 0 in the same area in 2016, and negative in the high stocking area in 2016. We conclude that production of beef cattle in boreal forests needs careful planning in relation to stocking rates and suitable groups of cattle for grazing in a forested habitat.

Published in

Grassland Science in Europe
2017, Volume: 22, pages: 239 - 241
Book title: Grassland resources for extensive farming systems in marginal lands: major drivers and future scenarios. Proceedings of the 19 th Symposium of the European Grassland Federation Alghero, Italy 7-10 May 2017
ISBN: 978-88-901771-9-4
Publisher: Organising Committee of the 19 th Symposium of the European Grassland Federation, CNR-ISPAAM Istituto Sistema Produzione Animale Ambiente Mediterraneo,


The 19th Symposium of the European Grassland Federation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Animal and Dairy Science
    Other Agricultural Sciences not elsewhere specified

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