Influence of red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) grazing on yield reduction and changes in the chemical composition of grassland forage: experiences from an organic farm at Stari Breg in the Kočevje Region

Authors

  • Matej Vidrih
  • Žiga Laznik
  • Tomaž Sinkovič
  • Breda Jakovac Strajn
  • Gabrijela Tavčar Kalcher
  • Stanislav Trdan

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14720/abs.57.2.15620

Keywords:

permanent grassland, yield reduction, cutting, feeding value, red deer, Kočevje region

Abstract

In 2013 and 2014 the effect of red deer grazing (Cervus elaphus) on yield decrease and its changes in forage quality was investigated on the permanent grassland of an organic cattle farm at Stari Breg in the Kočevje region. We performed the standard method of yield loss determination (iron cages) in the period from June to October in three cuts. In the first year of research we determined a 56% yield loss (4.0 t/haof dry matter), and in the second year a 75% yield loss (5.0 t/ha of dry matter). In 2014 the content of crude proteins in the forage was always larger in an unprotected (control) treatment than in a protected treatment, and we annotate this to permanent vegetative sward regrowth due to severe and uncontrolled red deer grazing. On the contrary, the content of crude fiber was higher in the forage that was enclosed in cages (treatment protected). Due to large yield loss at all cuts we also observed a significantly smaller yield of crude proteins, metabolized energy, and NEL in the control treatment. We established that in the studied location that red deer were an important biotic factor that limited productivity on the permanent grassland. This is why it is necessary to find solutions in the future that enable the co-existence of humans (farmers) and wildlife.

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Published

01.12.2014

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Original Research Paper

How to Cite

Vidrih, M., Laznik, Žiga, Sinkovič, T., Jakovac Strajn, B., Tavčar Kalcher, G., & Trdan, S. (2014). Influence of red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) grazing on yield reduction and changes in the chemical composition of grassland forage: experiences from an organic farm at Stari Breg in the Kočevje Region. Acta Biologica Slovenica, 57(2), 25-35. https://doi.org/10.14720/abs.57.2.15620

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