I R : The roles of forage management, forage quality, and forage allowance in grazing research
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© 2016 American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. Forage-management principles have been structured from small-plot experimentation targeted at evaluating defoliation regimens, fertilization, and other factors on growth and persistence of forage varieties or germplasm. Seasonal and total forage-mass attributes have been the primary benchmark for sustainable grass pastures. Forage mass affects level of grazing intensity and stocking rates to maximize gain per unit land area. Forage nutritive value sets the upper limits on gain per animal. Both forage mass and nutritive value are uniquely linked to animal performance; however, the priority role is different for C3 versus C4 forages because of the substantial differences in percentage of protein and digestible DM. The value of grazing-intensity and stocking-rate experimentation includes identifying ADG x gain per hectare relationships, and the mathematical expressions of other factors including forage allowance. The calculated forage allowance (forage DM:animal BW) has moved past the original point-in-time reference to be more inclusive of the average forage allowance for an entire season. Forage-allowance databases provide management decisions for stocking strategies to affect forage-animal pasture systems. Forage allowance of a pasture may provide management decisions for setting initial grazing intensities, or these calculated values may provide stocking strategy choices to optimize ADG or gain per hectare. The role of forage management is a dynamic, evolving, data-driven process with the inclusion of heuristic approaches to serve as correction factors to optimize forage utilization. Grazing research provides grazing-experiment databases to direct and redirect the role of forage-management decisions to enhance biological-economic efficiencies and sustainable pastures.
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