AbstractThe effect of age of regrowth (AR) of pasture herbage on milk production of Creole goats and growth rate of their kids while grazing irrigated Digitaria decumbens pastures was studied in Guadeloupe. Eighty-four does were used in an experiment to compare two rotational grazing systems over a one-year period during three kidding seasons classified as rainy, dry and intermediate. System AR21 allowed seven days of grazing and 21 days of regrowth whereas system AR35 allowed seven days and 35 days, respectively. An annual average stocking rate of 1,800 kg live-weight /ha was maintained in both systems. Dry matter (DM) yields were higher (P < 0.01) in the AR35 than in the AR21 system over the three seasons (4,935 vs. 2,948 kg/ha). Total biomass in the paddocks at the start of each grazing cycle varied between 11 and 19 DM kg/animal, depending significantly (P < 0.01) on the season. Age of regrowth had no effect. Daily milk production (938 to 1,033 g) also varied with the season but did not differ according to AR. Average daily gain (ADG) of kids in the AR21 system was lower by 23% than that of kids under the AR35. These differences were greater when ADG was adjusted for birth weight and milk production of the dam. Results may have been complicated by differences in gastro-intestinal parasitism, but this experiment showed that lowering AR of Digitaria decumbens pastures managed under intensive conditions did not significantly improve animal performance.
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