Nomadic grazing improves the mineral balance of livestock through the intake of diverse plant species

Yu Yoshihara, Hayato Mizuno, Hiroyuki Yasue, Nyam osor Purevdorj, Takehiko Y. Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous studies indicate that increasing plant diversity in pastures may prevent mineral deficiencies or excesses in grazing animals. We tested the hypothesis by comparing traditional Mongolian nomadic pastoral grazing through which we expected livestock to consume more plant species, with grazing in a settled area with less plant diversity. We recorded the number and types of plant species present and the species consumed by a sub-sample of grazing sheep. We measured the mineral composition of dominant plant species, sheep wool and cattle hair. Plant species diversity in vegetation and rumen contents was greater in the nomadically grazed area than in the settled area. Animals restricted to grazing in the settled area predominantly consumed a single plant species with poor mineral balance. In contrast, the concentration of potentially toxic elements of sheep wool was lower in the nomadically grazed area. These findings suggest that nomadically grazing may improve the mineral balance of livestock through the intake of diverse plant species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Feed Science and Technology
Volume184
Issue number1-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 9

Keywords

  • Cattle hair
  • Dryland
  • Sheep wool
  • Toxic element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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