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An Acad Bras Cienc. 2016 Mar;88(1):385-95. doi: 10.1590/0001-3765201620150180. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

Sward structure and nutritive value of Alexandergrass fertilized with nitrogen.

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Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS, Brasil.


This experiment evaluated forage production, sward structure, stocking rate, weight gain per area and nutritive value of forage as grazed by beef heifers on Alexandergrass (Urochloa plantaginea (Link) Hitch) pasture fertilized with nitrogen (N): 0; 100; 200 or 300 kg of N/ha. The experiment was a completely randomized design following a repeated measurement arrangement. The experimental animals were Angus heifers with initial age and weight of 15 months and 241.5±5 kg, respectively. The grazing method was continuous, with put-and-take stocking. N utilization, regardless of the level, increase by 25% the daily forage accumulation rate and the weight gain per area by 23%. The level of 97.2 kg N/ha leads to a higher leaf blade mass and increases by 20% the leaf:stem ratio. Alterations in sward structure changes the nutritive value of forage as grazed. The utilization of 112.7 kg of N/ha allows the highest stocking rate (2049.8 kg of BW/ha), equivalent to 7.5 heifers per hectare.

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