Forage intake, feeding behavior and bio-climatological indices of pasture grass, under the influence of trees, in a silvopastoral system

L.F Sousa, R.M. Maurício, D.S.C. Paciullo, S.R. Silveira, R.S. Ribeiro, L.H. Calsavara, G.R. Moreira


The aim of this study was to compare a silvopastoral system with a control (pasture only) in the Brazilian Cerrado. The silvopastoral system consisted of a tropical grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu) pasture and trees (Zeyheria tuberculosa), while the control was a Marandu pasture without trees. Sheep intake, feeding behavior and microclimatic conditions were the variables evaluated. Temperatures within the silvopastoral system were lower than in the control (maximum temperature of 28 and 33.5 °C, temperature and humidity index of 74.0 and 79.2 for the silvopastoral system and control, respectively). There was increased dry matter intake (88.2 vs. 79.9 g DM/kg0.75 LW/d, P<0.05), organic matter intake (89.6 vs. 81.1 g OM/kg0.75 LW/d, P<0.05) and grazing time (572 vs. 288 min/d, P<0.05), and reduced total water intake (430 vs. 474 mL/kg0.75 LW/d, P<0.05) and walking time (30 vs. 89 min/d, P<0.05) in grazing sheep in the silvopastoral system relative to the control. The results suggest that a silvopastoral system would provide a more favorable environment than a straight pasture for sheep performance in a tropical grazing situation.

Keywords: Animal behavior, microclimate, shade, sheep.

DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(3)129-141

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