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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Production

Foraging behavior of two cattle breeds, a whole-year study: II. Spatial distribution by breed and season1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 92 No. 2, p. 758-766
    Received: Aug 06, 2013
    Accepted: Dec 06, 2013
    Published: November 24, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. A. Dolev*,
  2. Z. Henkin†‡,
  3. A. Brosh,
  4. Y. Yehuda*,
  5. E. D. Ungar,
  6. A. Shabtay and
  7. Y. Aharoni 2
  1. MIGAL– Galilee Technological Center,Qiryat Shemona, P.O. Box 90000, Rosh Pina 12100, Israel;
    Beef Cattle Section, Agricultural Research Organization, Newe Ya’ar Research Center, P.O. Box 1021, Ramat Yishay 30095, Israel;
    Department of Natural Resources, Agricultural Research Organization– the Volcani Center, P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel


Spatial distributions of 22 mature large-framed Beefmaster × Simford (BS) cross cows and 16 mature small-framed Baladi (BA) cows were determined. Cows were allocated to the same paddock of a Mediterranean pasture and monitored during 6 consecutive seasons: spring (April 2006), summer (June 2006), autumn (September 2006), winter (February 2007), early spring (March 2007), and summer (June 2007). The locations of the cows were determined at 5-min intervals for 3 to 4 d during each season by using Global Positioning System (GPS) collars. The distances between consecutive locations and the average locations of each breed at each hour of the day in each season were calculated. The Lateral Foraging Index (LFI) was calculated as the ratio between the average distance per day travelled by the cows of each breed and the perimeter of the diurnal itinerary of that breed, which was calculated from its hourly average locations. The 2 breeds maintained similar diurnal patterns of foraging and resting, characterized by morning and afternoon foraging, and resting at midday and during the night. In summer this pattern was more distinctive, with longer resting periods and more intense foraging periods than in winter, when the noon rest was shorter and only partial. The diurnal routes differed (P < 0.001) between the breeds in all seasons, in their locations, their travelling time, or both. The BA cows were more active than the BS cows in all seasons: they travelled longer distances (P < 0.001) and foraged for more hours during the day (P < 0.001). For both breeds the LFI was numerically greater in winter and spring (February, and March) than in summer (June and September), and it was numerically greater for BA than for BS cows in most seasons.

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