Forage intake and performance of heifers fed rice bran on Alexandergrass pasture
ABSTRACT The study was carried out to evaluate the forage intake and performance of beef heifers from 15 to 18 months of age, grazing on Alexandergrass (Urochloaplantaginea (Link) Hitch) fed rice bran (RB; 0, 0.5 and 1.0% body weight (BW)). The experiment consisted of a completely randomized design with repeated measurement arrangement. Rice bran increased the total dry matter (DM) intake, total crude protein intake and total digestible nutrients intake. Heifers that received 1.0% BW of RB reduced forage DM intake, increasing by 18% stocking rate (SR) and by 27% BW gain per area in comparison with the system exclusively on pasture. In the system in which the heifers were fed 0.5% BW of RB, SR and gain per area were similar to other systems. In this feeding system, we observed average daily gain 18% higher than when heifers were exclusively on pasture and gain similar to that observed when using 1.0% BW of RB. In Alexandergrass pasture it is recommended to supply 0.5% BW of RB for beef heifers from 15 to 18 months of age, to promote better productive responses compared to heifers exclusively on pasture and similar to those observed when supplying 1.0% BW of RB.