Grass Fattening of Livestock

Grass Fattening of Livestock


fattening cattle, sheep, and horses in pastures in preparation for slaughter for meat. One of the least labor-intensive and most inexpensive methods of increasing the fattiness and liveweight of livestock, grass fattening depends primarily on the provision of an uninterrupted supply of enough pasture fodder to guarantee an average daily weight gain of at least 700 g per head for cattle and horses and 150 g for sheep.

Different breeds of livestock vary in their suitability for grass fattening. Cattle of specialized meat breeds and sheep of meat-and-wool and meat-and-lard breeds are best suited to this method. In regions of the USSR where there are extensive natural pastures (the Southern Urals and Kazakhstan), as well as in certain regions of Western and Eastern Siberia, grass fattening is practiced on natural grazing lands without feed supplements, except minerals. In the central and northern regions of the European USSR and certain other areas, where natural pastures are less extensive, a greens conveyer for grass fattening is created by combining grazing on natural pastures with supplementary feeding of greenfeed, wastes from vegetable farming, silage, haylage, and (where weight gains are low) concentrates. At some farms in the Caucasus, Urals, Altai, and Pamir, grass fattening is done on remote mountain and foothill pastures, and on certain farms in the European USSR it is practiced on cultivated perennial pastures. Year-round grass fattening is sometimes practiced in regions that receive little snow. A fodder reserve is established for supplementary feeding during heavy snowfalls, winter storms, and very cold weather.

Young cattle are put on grass fattening at 12–14 months of age and spend four to five months under that regimen (about three months at the most advanced farms). Adult animals require three to four months, or sometimes about two months, of grass fattening. During this period the weight of adult animals increases by 20–30 percent, and that of young animals by 40–60 percent. Grass fattening periods can be reduced by preliminary and final stall fattening.

Grass fattening is most common in countries that have large areas of natural feed lands. In Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, and Mongolia cattle are grass fed. Sheep are raised by this method in Australia, New Zealand, and Mongolia. In many countries where beef and sheep raising are highly developed (the USA, Canada, and Great Britain, for example), grass fattening is combined with intensive fattening.


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