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Recent progress in the study of behavior and management in grazing cattle

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Recent progress in studies concerning behavior of, and management for, grazing cattle are reviewed. Since 1950, much study has been conducted on ‘How’, ‘When’, ‘Where’ and ‘How long’ regarding grazing. After the 1980s, grazing ecology introduced the concept of hierarchy at different spatial and temporal scales, and since then grazing behavior has been investigated on the foraging hierarchy of large grazing herbivores: bite, feeding station (FS), patch, feeding site, camp and home range. From the sequence of activities, FS is grouped within a feeding patch, and movement of grazing cattle has been studied between FSs, feeding patches, feeding sites and between camps. Grazing behavior and production relates closley with defoliation, and grazing management should control both grazing behavior and vegetation according to three rules: planning, operational and adaptation rules. Planning rules relate the stocking rate of cattle; operational rules relate to defoliation; and adaptation rules vary with regional situations. Recent studies on grazing have been carried out in the fields of animal diversity and welfare. Future studies in this field should be conducted on the ecology, neurophysiology and psychology of grazing. Nonlinear analysis will also be significant in this field. Grazing cattle production should also utilize supplementation by roughage and/or grains.
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Keywords: behavior; cattle; grazing; management; production

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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