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Characterization of the vegetable parts consumed by sheep and cattle on tagasaste plants (Chamaecytisus proliferus ssp. palmensis)

Julia Avendaño R.1*, Carlos Ovalle M.2, Marcela Ramírez S.3

A study was carried out with the objective of comparatively characterize the material consumed by sheep and cattle in two types of tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus ssp. palmensis) bushes: tall (1.63 m) and short (1.09 m). Shrub components evaluated were buds and branches. The tall shrubs were stronger, possessing a larger quantity of branches and buds (2,981 and 3,023 units, respectively) than the shorter ones (836 and 976 units, respectively). The quantity and length of branches totally consumed were similar (1,250 units versus 1,386 units and 6.8 cm versus 6.3 cm) for sheep and cattle, although, the quantity and length consumed were smaller in short trees (604 units versus 2,032 units and 5.9 cm versus 7.2 cm, respectively). The maximum diameter consumed was 4.9 mm by sheep and 6 mm by cattle. Both species partially consumed 20% of the total branches present before browsing high and low. The maximum diameter consumed by sheep tended to be lower (5.71 mm) than for cattle (6.24mm). Cattle rejected almost the double (P>0.05) the number of the branches and buds than sheep (14.8% versus 7.6% and 13.3% versus 5.5%, respectively), but both species rejected branches with similar base and apex diameters before browsing (4.6 mm and 2.8 mm, respectively). The maximum height consumed by sheep and cattle in tall trees was 1.28 m and 1.54 m, respectively, and in short ones the two species did not reach above one meter bring initial height a limitant.

Key words: tagasaste, intake, tree or shrub components.

1 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Experimental Cauquenes, Casilla 165, Cauquenes, Chile. E-mail: javendano@inia.cl *Autor para correspondencia.
2 Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, Centro Regional de Investigación Quilamapu. Casilla 426, Chillán, Chile. E-mail: covalle@inia.cl
3 Dirección particular: 2º de Línea 998, Cañete, Chile.

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