Forage selection by cattle in heterogeneous pastures in Nicaragua
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Three paddock types differing in soil nutrient content and grazing pressure were studied, i.e. nutrient poor (NP) paddocks with high and low grazing pressure, and nutrient rich (NR) paddocks with low grazing pressure. In each paddock the floristic composition of diets, cow tansects and control transects were measured, and the proportion of each species in the diet and in the transects was calculated. Additionally, an index of selectivity (IS) was calculated from this data.This study indicates that the cows in the nutrient poor paddocks were not excessively selective in their choice of forage, probably due to low abundance of preferred species, and realtively high abundance of species of low forage quality. Further, the utilization of the paddocks are probably not the most advantageous, as a relatively large proportion of the species were avoided in both the diet and the feeding sites, and quite few species were avoided in both the diet and the feeding sites, and quite few species were selected in both.