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Is floristic diversity of permanent pastures important for ruminants and animal products ?

INRA Prod. Anim., 21 (2), 181-200.


1 INRA, UR1213 Herbivores, F-63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France

2 INRA, ENV Toulouse, UMR1225, F-31076 Toulouse, France

Semi natural grasslands covers about a third of the agricultural area used in France and presents a large biodiversity potential. Animal breeding consequently plays a key role in preserving the biodiversity of France. The aim of this synthesis is to examine the biodiversity as a result of the farmer’s practices from the point of view of its value for ruminants and animals products. Only one aspect of biodiversity is included : floristic diversity. In this present paper, a state of multidisciplinary knowledge is realised about the effects of diversity on forage nutritive value, on animal ingestion, on sensory and nutritional traits of milk and meat products, and lastly on two different aspects of animal health : the prevention against the infestations by the gastrointestinal nematodes and the peroxydation process. With regard to this list above, the effects linked to botanical composition have been documented but we are not able to say if it is because of the large numbers of species or the presence of particular specie or the phenological state of the plants. The most likely role of dicotyledonous especially legumes has been underlined at various times in particular due to a larger concentration of secondary metabolites than herbs. Lastly, the interest of supplying animals with various feeds has been highlighted in particular on the aspects of ingestion and animal health.

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