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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

Choice of forage crops for animal production in temperate perennial pasture-based grazing systems.


Choosing a forage crop for animal production is a broad topic with many facets. This review has chosen to concentrate on the in situ use of forage crops within temperate-pasture-based grazing systems. However, the principle of understanding the deficiencies of the pasture-based system before choosing a forage crop applies to any geo-climatic zone. The literature of New Zealand and Australia highlights the potential to increase both stocking rate and per animal performance and the risk associated with introducing forage crops into a perennial pasture system. Higher yields and increased efficiency of use of resources such as water and nutrients are offset by the variability of both crop yield and the time out of production that is often dictated by climatic conditions. Increases in both technical knowledge of crop agronomy and grazing and labour requirements when feeding the crop also influence farmers' decisions and crop success. The final decision to choose an appropriate forage species or cultivar is a relatively minor part of the process that is well supported by the seed retail industry in New Zealand and Australia.

CAB Review details