Weather, herbage quality and milk production in pastoral systems. 2. Temporal patterns and intra-relationships in herbage quality and mineral concentration parameters
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Roche, JR and Turner, LR and Lee, JM and Edmeades, DC and Donaghy, DJ and Macdonald, KA and Penno, JW and Berry, DP, Weather, herbage quality and milk production in pastoral systems. 2. Temporal patterns and intra-relationships in herbage quality and mineral concentration parameters, Animal Production Science, 49, (3) pp. 200-210. ISSN 1836-0939 (2009) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2009 CSIRO
Prevailing weather conditions influence herbage growth and quality, and therefore may have a substantial impact on animal production. Before investigating relationships between weather factors, herbage quality, and animal production, it is beneficial to first quantify temporal trends in herbage quality characteristics and mineral concentrations. The objective of the present study was to investigate the existence of temporal trends in herbage quality characteristics and mineral concentrations, and to quantify the intra-dependency among these variables. Weekly herbage quality and mineral concentration data from a research farm were collected from 1995 to 2001, inclusive. Fitted sinusoidal functions demonstrated cyclic temporal trends across herbage quality variables, but there was little cyclic temporal variation in the majority of herbage mineral concentration variables. The repeatability of herbage quality measurements was low to moderate (22% for ether extract to 54% for metabolisable energy). Linear relationships were observed within all herbage quality variables and herbage mineral concentration variables. Neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre concentrations were strongly positively correlated with each other (r = 0.87), and negatively correlated with herbage digestibility (r = -0.64 and -0.74, respectively), water-soluble carbohydrate concentration (r = -0.52 and -0.68, respectively) and metabolisable energy content (r = -0.60 and -0.75, respectively). The absolute correlations among most herbage minerals were poor (r <0.30). However, magnesium concentration was positively correlated with calcium (r = 0.54), copper (r = 0.56), and manganese (r = 0.37) concentrations, and negatively correlated with zinc (r = -0.56) concentration. Further investigation is required into the relationships between temporal weather and herbage quality trends, and their impact on animal production. © CSIRO 2009.
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