Interrelationships among forage nutritive value and quantity and individual animal performance

Lynn E. Sollenberger, Eric S. Vanzant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Relationships of forage nutritive value (NVAL) and quantity with individual animal performance on pasture have long been evaluated, but there have been few attempts to describe the specific roles or relative importance of NVAL and quantity in determining animal response. The objective of this review was to more clearly define these roles based on a comprehensive assessment of pastureland literature and the quantity with individual animal performance on pasture has quantity and NVAL interact. When pastures present a wide range in forage mass, 60 to 90% of variation in average daily gain (ADG) can be explained by quantity, but there may be no relationship of NVAL with ADG. If pastures present only high forage mass, there may be no relationship between quantity and ADG, but NVAL may explain more than 50% of variation in ADG. The meta-analysis and a review of studies that evaluated forages of differing NVAL across a range of forage mass provided evidence that NVAL (i) sets the upper limit for ADG, (ii) determines the slope of the regression of ADG on stocking rate (SR), and (iii) establishes the forage mass at which ADG plateaus. In contrast, forage quantity determines the proportion of potential ADG that is achieved and is the primary driver for direction of the ADG response (negative) to increasing SR. Thus, the literature supports a conclusion of interaction among forage NVAL and quantity in affecting individual animal performance on pasture, but it suggests that the roles of each are quite well defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-432
Number of pages13
JournalCrop Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science

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