Sward Structure and Herbage Accumulation of Massai Guineagrass Pastures Managed According to Pre-Grazing Heights, in the Northeast of Brazil

  •  João Emerenciano Neto    
  •  Gelson Difante    
  •  Angela Lana    
  •  Nathália Campos    
  •  Emmanuel Veras    
  •  José Moraes    


The forage sward height measurement is a practical and potential tool for grazing management. Thus, the objective of this study was to evaluate the structure of pasture and forage accumulation related to sward pre-grazing height of Panicum maximum cv. Massai, before being grazed by sheep. The study was conducted in the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Macaíba, Brazil. The treatments were the pre-grazing sward heights at: 35, 40, 45 and 50 cm. The post-grazing height was 15 cm for all treatments. The interaction between the pre-grazing sward heights and grazing cycles was only statistically significant for light interception (LI) and leaf area index (LAI). The LI had linear and positive effect to the pre-grazing heights in only one of three grazing cycles, with approximately 1% increase in LI for each centimeter grown in the sward. The total forage mass had linear regression, every centimeter increased in height, there was a correspondent dry matter (DM) increase of 187 kg ha-1 in forage mass. There was a linear response between leaf blade mass and dead material with sward height. The post-grazing lowest LI was 29.42% at 42.05 cm high. The lowest amount of LI was 29.42% at 42.05 cm high. The minimum LAI was 0.69. The top DM and mineral matter (MM) accumulation rate were linear and had 58.32 and 20.46 kg ha-1 day-1 MS, respectively. Massai guineagrass grazed by sheep must be handled between 35 and 40 cm high at pre-grazing when associated with post-grazing height of 15 cm.

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