Direct measures of the grazing animal's nutritional status

TitleDirect measures of the grazing animal's nutritional status
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsAnderson D.M.
Conference Name40th Annual Meeting, Society for Range Management
Date Published1987
Conference LocationBoise, ID
AbstractAccurate, precise, rapid and cost effective procedures must characterize the techniques used to measure an animal's nutritional status. The classical information on the grazing animal's nutritional status has been determined by monitoring the chemical composition of the standing crop, the botanical and chemical composition of diets using esophageally fistulated animals, and the use of physical measurements including liveweight. Tissue and body fluid analyses for the diagnosis of nutritional problems have been stimulated by the development of automated equipment. Techniques that use body condition scores, based on a visual appraisal or external palpation for subcutaneous fat, correlate well with stored energy in the animal. Body condition correlates with reproductive efficiency and milk production. Prepartum condition can be used to effectively manage fat and thin livestock according to their nutritional needs for optimum sustained production. To understand and accurately manage the complex relationships that exist at the plant-animal interface, no single measure will be adequate to describe 'the nutritional status of grazing animals. However, body condition scores should be considered as a cost- effective tool that can be used by both the producer and researcher.