Livestock Nutrition: Pasture System and Forage Conservation

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Farm Animal Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2023) | Viewed by 5484

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, 50144 Florence, Italy
Interests: NIRS; pasture; feeding behavior; livestock nutrition; quality production; animal performance; precision livestock farming; farming systems; sustainable animal production

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Science and Technology, Free University of Bolzano, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Interests: grazing ruminants; plant extracts; farming systems; feeding behavior; animal nutrition; feeding stuffs; animal product quality; animal health and welfare; sustainable livestock production

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Guest Editor
Agricultural Research Agency of Sardinia—AGRIS Sardegna, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: forage system; forage production and quality; livestock farming systems; grazing management; milk production, meat production, production quality; organic farming system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The conservation of ecosystems linked to livestock systems, feed choices and feeding strategies is of primary importance, and it is threatened by the intensification of land use and the lack of adaptability of agriculture to changing environmental conditions. The spatial and temporal variation of grasslands, pastures and forage is linked to numerous direct factors, such as species composition and variety, abundance, phenological phase and growth stage, availability of soil resources, management practices and conservation techniques. In the longer term, indirect factors such as climate change can also affect crop and forage resources, influencing the variability of grasslands and forage production, with implications on growing season length and the ripening of species, but also on species yield and distribution.

Nutrition and animal feed quality, on the other hand, highly affect the quality of animal products, while other factors such genetic, physiological, welfare and environmental conditions have a crucial impact. In this context, nutritional assessments of feeds are a prerequisite for a qualitative and quantitative approach to livestock production systems.

This Special Issue focuses on, but is not limited to, the nutritional evaluation of pastures and forage, the development of innovative feed conservation techniques, alternative or sustainable feeds, as well as precision farming systems and the study of feeding behavior. New feeding approaches with beneficial effects on animal products, as well as environmentally friendly and low-environmental-impact feeding solutions are also welcome.

Dr. Silva Parrini
Dr. Ioanna Poulopoulou
Dr. Maria Sitzia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nutritional quality
  • feed
  • pasture grazing
  • forage sources
  • grasses
  • analysis
  • NIRS
  • alternative feed
  • precision livestock systems
  • feeding behavior
  • sustainability

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 1227 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Genotype on Chemical Composition, Feeding Value and In Vitro Rumen Degradability of Fresh and Ensiled Forage of Native Maize (Zea mays L.) from Mexico
by Edwin Rafael Alvarado-Ramírez, Gilberto Ballesteros-Rodea, Abdelfattah Zeidan Mohamed Salem, José Reyes-Hernández, Camelia Alejandra Herrera-Corredor, Javier Hernández-Meléndez, Andrés Gilberto Limas-Martínez, Daniel López-Aguirre and Marco Antonio Rivas-Jacobo
Agriculture 2023, 13(11), 2161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13112161 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1161
Abstract
The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the genotype on the chemical composition, feeding value and in vitro rumen degradability of fresh and ensiled forage of four native maize varieties (Amarillo, Olotillo, Tampiqueño and Tuxpeño) from Tamaulipas, Mexico, and [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the genotype on the chemical composition, feeding value and in vitro rumen degradability of fresh and ensiled forage of four native maize varieties (Amarillo, Olotillo, Tampiqueño and Tuxpeño) from Tamaulipas, Mexico, and a commercial hybrid, as well as the stability and aerobic deterioration of the silage. In all genotypes, fresh forage consisted of whole plants of maize that were harvested when the grain reached a milky-mass state, and silage was fresh forage chopped and ensiled in plastic bags, where it fermented for 120 days. The hybrid presented the highest content (p < 0.05) of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), ether extract, non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFCs) and starch, as well as the lowest content (p < 0.05) of fibers (NDF and ADF), acid detergent lignin and water-soluble carbohydrates (WSCs). Furthermore, the hybrid and Amarillo genotypes obtained the lowest pH and ammoniacal nitrogen content (p < 0.05), intermediate values (p < 0.05) of lactic and butyric acid, and the lowest and highest acetic acid content (p < 0.05), respectively. Although OM did not differ (p > 0.05) between states of the forage, the fresh forage presented a higher (p < 0.05) content of DM, crude protein, NDF, ADF, WSCs, pH and butyric acid in all genotypes, while the rest of the parameters were higher (p < 0.05) in the silage. However, Amarillo obtained the highest feeding value (p < 0.05) in terms of DM intake, relative forage value, digestible energy, metabolizable energy and rumen degradability (DM, NDF and ADF), and between states of the forage, ensiled obtained the highest feeding value (p < 0.05). During the aerobic exposure, the Amarillo and hybrid silage showed greater (p < 0.05) stability (>38 h), and less (p < 0.05) deterioration, pH increase and loss of DM and OM, while Tuxpeño obtained less stability and greater deterioration. In conclusion, the genotype did influence the chemical composition of fresh and ensiled forage, which affected the feeding value and in vitro rumen degradability, and the Amarillo and hybrid genotypes presented the best values in the evaluated parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Nutrition: Pasture System and Forage Conservation)
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15 pages, 688 KiB  
Article
Mixed Silage of Banana Pseudostem and Maize Stover on Ethiopian Smallholder Farms: Effect of Fermentation Package and Location on Microbiological and Nutritional Evaluation
by Ashenafi Azage Mitiku, Dries Vandeweyer, Ines Adriaens, Yisehak Kechero, Leen Van Campenhout and Ben Aernouts
Agriculture 2023, 13(11), 2152; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13112152 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1067
Abstract
Preservation of widely available crop residues as silage could reduce feed shortages in Ethiopia. Four mixtures of banana pseudostem (BPS) and fresh maize stover (FMS) were prepared for fermentation considering the local conditions and available resources: 100% FMS, 80% FMS + 20% BPS, [...] Read more.
Preservation of widely available crop residues as silage could reduce feed shortages in Ethiopia. Four mixtures of banana pseudostem (BPS) and fresh maize stover (FMS) were prepared for fermentation considering the local conditions and available resources: 100% FMS, 80% FMS + 20% BPS, 60% FMS + 40% BPS and 95% BPS + 5% molasses. Each of the four mixtures was fermented in plastic bags as well as in plastic drums. Apart from the effect of the mixture and fermentation package, two fermentation locations were also considered. The fermentation was replicated three times for each combination of mixture, fermentation package and fermentation condition. The pH, microbial counts (total viable count, lactic acid bacteria count, Enterobacteriaceae count, yeast and mold count) and nutritional values of the fresh material and mixed silage were measured. Fermentation was successful for all mixed silages, reaching a pH below four, while the total viable count, Enterobacteriaceae count, yeast and mold count dropped (all p ≤ 0.05) and digestibility and metabolizable energy increased compared to the fresh mixtures. Enterobacteriaceae counts reached values below the detection limit in all mixed silages fermented in drums unlike the bag silages. The plastic bags used as fermentation package were found to be sensitive to damage, resulting in a a higher pH and visible signs of yeast and mold. Although fermentation of BPS with molasses resulted in a significant increase in dry matter digestibility (41.14 to 46.17–49.92%) and organic matter digestibility (50.52 to 55.22–58.75%), they were lower compared to most mixed silages with FMS. Fermentation of 80 and 60% FMS mixtures increased the crude protein content from 44.30 to 71.27–82.20 g/kg DM, and from 43.63 to 63.10–65.83 g/kg DM, respectively. The highest increase (1.77 MJ/kg DM) in metabolizable energy was recorded for 80% FMS fermented in drums. The location of fermentation had no effect on pH, microbial counts and nutritional values. This study demonstrates that crop by-products can be successfully fermented under conditions prevailing in Ethiopia, with drums being preferred over bags. Mixing BPS with FMS is advised to absorb BPS juice losses and obtain silage with more crude protein, neutral and acid detergent fibers and metabolizable energy, as well as a higher digestibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Nutrition: Pasture System and Forage Conservation)
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16 pages, 2622 KiB  
Article
Effects of Scale, Temporal Variation and Grazing on Diversity in an Endemic Pasture in Sierra de Zapaliname, Coahuila, Mexico
by José Ramón Arévalo, Juan A. Encina-Domínguez, Cristina González-Montelongo, Miguel Mellado and Arturo Cruz-Anaya
Agriculture 2023, 13(9), 1737; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13091737 - 01 Sep 2023
Viewed by 773
Abstract
Grasslands and pastures are extensively studied due to their geographic variation, species richness, ecological functioning, and economic importance. They are vital components of land use in many parts of the world. The impact of grassland management on species diversity and species composition has [...] Read more.
Grasslands and pastures are extensively studied due to their geographic variation, species richness, ecological functioning, and economic importance. They are vital components of land use in many parts of the world. The impact of grassland management on species diversity and species composition has also been widely discussed, but results have been contradictory. It is well known that the relationship between species richness and the sampled area is perhaps one of the most consistent rules in plant ecology. This relationship is particularly important in biodiversity studies as it helps to predict richness at larger scales. Additionally, species richness is also influenced by absolute plant abundance, spatial patterns, and the degree of species mixing. However, species richness also depends on absolute plant abundance, spatial patterns, and the degree of mixing species. To assess this relationship, we analyzed the impact of cattle grazing on species richness at a sampling scale in the Sierra of Zapaliname, a protected area in northern Mexico. Our results revealed that the increase in plant species concerning the sampling area significantly differed in the plots excluded from grazing from the control (grazed) plots, and these relationships are differently detected in the function of the scale. Despite the lack of differences in previous studies on species richness without considering the scale, once the scale is incorporated, differences arise among both treatments. As indicated in previous studies, grazing exclusion can lead to a decrease in species richness, but we suggest that some areas of the pasture could be excluded from grazing for longer periods, as long as it is compatible with the economic needs of the local inhabitants, to investigate changes and promote diversity, especially for plant species associated with areas excluded from grazing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Nutrition: Pasture System and Forage Conservation)
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12 pages, 312 KiB  
Article
Effects of Adding Agro-Industrial By-Products of Babassu to Guinea Grass Silage
by Daniele Ferreira, Danrley Bandeira, Anderson Zanine, Henrique Parente, Michelle Parente, Rosane Rodrigues, Edson Mauro Santos, Anny Graycy Lima, Marinaldo Ribeiro, Ricardo Pinho, Juliana Oliveira, Francisco Naysson Santos, Renata Costa, Francisca Claudia Sousa, Fleming Campos and Dilier Olivera-Viciedo
Agriculture 2023, 13(9), 1697; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13091697 - 28 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
Using by-products added to grass silage in the total mixed ration (TMR) silage form can bring advantages to the ensiling process, raising DM levels, absorbing moisture, and improving the silage’s chemical composition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of [...] Read more.
Using by-products added to grass silage in the total mixed ration (TMR) silage form can bring advantages to the ensiling process, raising DM levels, absorbing moisture, and improving the silage’s chemical composition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of babassu by-products’ inclusion substitution for corn in Guinea grass silage in the total mixed ration as an alternative feed for ruminants. The experiment was a completely randomized design with four treatments (silage) and five replications (silo). There was a significant difference in the fermentation profile and losses of silage (p < 0.001), some organic acids (lactic and butyric acids, p < 0.001), and the percentage of lactic acid in fermentation products (LA:FP, p < 0.001). The TGS showed the highest average for the variable’s maximum temperature (p < 0.001) and hours/max temperature (p = 0.011). Babassu by-products could eventually replace 50% of corn in total mixed rations silage containing Guinea grass, meeting the suggestion for the total mixed ration silage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Nutrition: Pasture System and Forage Conservation)
14 pages, 322 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Melon, (Cucumis melo L.) Silage with Different Biomass Mixtures and Dry Matter Contents
by Romilda Rodrigues do Nascimento, Ricardo Loiola Edvan, Keuven dos Santos Nascimento, Dhiéssica Morgana Alves Barros, Lucas de Souza Barros, Luan Felipe Reis Camboim, Tairon Pannunzio Dias e Silva, Rafael de Souza Miranda, Marcos Jácome de Araújo, Anisio Ferreira Lima Neto, Leilson Rocha Bezerra, Francisco Naysson de Sousa Santos, Edson Mauro Santos and Stelio Bezerra Pinheiro de Lima
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1536; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081536 - 01 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
The objective of this study was to obtain different dry matter contents and proportions of melon plant biomass for silage making. A completely randomized design with factorial arrangement (3 × 2) and four replications was adopted. The first factor consisted of three melon [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to obtain different dry matter contents and proportions of melon plant biomass for silage making. A completely randomized design with factorial arrangement (3 × 2) and four replications was adopted. The first factor consisted of three melon biomass mixtures based on as-fed composition of plant (branches + leaves) and harvested melon (fruits)—100% plant (0% fruit), 90% plant + 10% fruit, and 100% fruit. The second factor corresponded to the ensiled material, which was either fresh or dehydrated in the field after harvest (40% dry matter). Silages produced from dehydrated biomass after fruit harvest, containing 0% and 10% fruit, showed the highest dry matter contents: 297 g/kg and 293 g/kg, respectively. Silages produced from fresh biomass containing 0% and 10% fruit showed high concentrations of acetic acid, reaching 14.9 g/kg and 14.1 g/kg, respectively. Silages produced from dehydrated biomass containing 10% and 100% fruit showed better results in terms of the indicators associated with high-quality silage. Dehydration improves the fermentative profile and overall quality of melon silage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Nutrition: Pasture System and Forage Conservation)
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