Featured Articles

Interpretive Summary: Herbage mass and allowance and animal genotype affect daily herbage intake, productivity, and efficiency of beef cows grazing native subtropical grassland

By Anne Zinn

A study recently published in the Journal of Animal Science set out to estimate the herbage intake of straightbred and crossbred beef cows grazing subtropical native grassland with high and low herbage allowance during gestation and lactation and its relationship with biological efficiency of cow-calf productivity. It is crucial that beef cow-calf systems in subtropical native grasslands, such as Campos, must improve their cow-calf and economic productivity without external inputs while still reducing the environmental impact. This could potentially be done through the control of herbage allowance, improving herbage production, cow herbage intake, and biological efficiency. 

Overall, the results of the present study demonstrated that animal productivity and biological efficiency can be improved using high herbage allowance and crossbred cows, which should potentially decrease the environmental impact of cow-calf systems. Specifically, herbage allowance and cow genotype affected dry matter intake in opposite directions and during different physiological stages, but both in an additive way improved calf productivity. This indicates that cow-calf systems in Campos grasslands and other subtropical grasslands have the chance to greatly improve their productivity. This could potentially increase beef production using the same pasture resources or by maintaining current production levels while reducing the livestock herd in absolute terms to decrease methane and other greenhouse gas emissions.

The full paper can be found on the Journal of Animal Science webpage.