Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Improved knowledge of breed and stocking rate effects on animal behaviour in biodiverse grasslands

The project has led to improved knowledge of the effects of stocking rate and breed on animal behaviour (particularly dietary choice) in biodiverse grasslands. The key innovative feature is that this is one of very few studies that have looked at breed effects in this way. In most grass-herb dominated sites animals showed a strong preference for legumes. Animals showed a preference for short vegetation particularly in very grass-dominant sites.

Breed had little effect in grass-dominated sites but on a heather-gorse community in Spain local goats had a much higher preference for Shrubs than Cashmere goats. The result is about to be published in a peer reviewed journal. The potential use of this result is to inform the design of agri-environmental schemes and to allow managers to make appropriate stocking rate and breed choices. It will also inform decisions by breeders, particularly of traditional breeds. The benefit of these applications will be improved predictability of the outcome of agri-environmental schemes. The results will be disseminated by peer-reviewed publication, vis a specific dissemination publication (web-resident) and via interactions by each partner with national extension services.

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Reported by

INRA
INRA Unite de Researches sur les Herbivores, Theix
63122 St Genes Champanelle
France
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