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Fattening calves production in the "Marais de l’Ouest". The example of a Charolais cow herd calving in autumn.

INRA Prod. Anim., 1 (3), 187-192.


INRA, Domaine de Saint-Laurent de la Prée, 17450 Fouras

* INRA, Unité de Recherches sur les Systèmes Agraires et le Développement INA-PG, 78850 Thiverval-Grignon

In most of the areas in the "Marais de l’Ouest", one can hardly breed the equivalent of one mother-cow + calf couple per ha. However it is now possible to do so with suckler cows. In this study, a herd of Charolais cows were bred to calve in autumn. Productivity levels were estimated for the animals and the different types of grass used as feed. These were marsh-paddock grazing in spring with complementary feeding in summer and grass silage and hay in winter. The fertility rate was about a hundred per cent. The mortality rate after birth reached 13 % and numeric produtivity was 0,9 calf per cow over five years. Growth rate of the calves rose to 1000 g/day between birth and weaning at the beginning of summer. During the last phase of grazing, the daily increase in weight was 1150 g. Production from natural pastures is about 2 t DM/ha which can be doubled by making hay. In the same way, production from temporary grassland increases from 5 t DM/ha with paddock grazing to about 10 t DM/ha when mown twice with the same degree of fertilization.

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