Grassland management with emphasis on grazing behaviour


  • M. Gibb


Investigations into the behavioural responses by ruminants to differences in their grazing environment have led to improved understanding of the grazing process. This has proved useful in developing management strategies which are not only sympathetic to the animals’ natural behaviour, but can improve the level and efficiency of resource use. The components of grazing behaviour considered are as follows: constraints and responses at the level of the sward/animal interface, such as bite rate, bite mass, short-term intake rate and grazing time; temporal patterns in behaviour regarding the aforementioned parameters, meal duration and distribution over the day; dietary preference and selection for grass and clover. For each of these broad areas, evidence is presented of the implications for improving current management practices on farm, or novel approaches to improving the utilization of traditional pasture species