Demonstrating control of forage allowance for beef cattle grazing Campos grassland in Uruguay to improve system productivity

Martin Do Carmo, Gerónimo Cardozo, Martín Jaurena, Pablo Soca


While low-cost technology can be applied within beef cattle systems to improve economic output and decrease economic risk, methodologies to increase adoption by farmers deserve attention. Here we report 4 case studies where low-cost, high-impact technology was applied on commercial farms in an endeavor to demonstrate increased physical output in what we describe as 'Producer Demonstration Sites'. Forage allowance (FA) affects forage growth, forage intake by animals and energy partitioning to maintenance or production. We decided to demonstrate the benefits to production from controlling forage allowance at specific recommended levels. While we focused on FA, other management tools, e.g. suckling restriction and energy supplementation of cows prior to breeding, were tested in different contexts and time periods to improve the critical responses mentioned. While increases in production from 3 of the farms were demonstrated, only 2 of the farmers showed interest in implementing the strategies on their farms subsequently. We conclude that control of forage allowance improved energy intake. For this approach to be successful and increase adoption, it is important to involve the farmers in discussions regarding the proposed changes from the outset as well as the monitoring of progress during the demonstration.

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