Standing Cows Off – How Cows Change Grazing Behaviour

DairyNZ

Type: PDF, Factsheet
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

An easy to understand factsheet and potentially easy to replicate trial.

This fact sheet, produced by DairyNZ, summarises the results of a research trial on how cows change grazing behaviour when the grazing period is restricted.  Standing cows off pasture increases their hunger, so they must eat more efficiently by modifying their grazing behaviour when pasture is available to meet their energy requirements.

The research involved observing and testing cow’s grazing behaviour, pasture intake and utilisation, and hunger-related hormones and metabolites in three treatment groups:

  1. 8 hours grazing between AM & PM milking in a 24 hour period;
  2. 2 x 4 hours grazing after each milking in a 24 hour period;
  3. Unrestricted.

The key findings were that intake did not differ between the treatments, hunger-related hormones were greatest in cows in the first group as was motivation to eat, and benefits were seen in reducing urination and defecation on pasture.

In conclusion, changing the amount of time on pasture may be of benefit as the cow’s intake isn’t altered and it may be easier to capture and store nutrients during high-risk periods.

2010 - New Zealand - DairyNZ
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