Mean DM digestibility

The quality of the green or dead herbage, expressed as its dry matter digestibility. Whatever the type of pasture, it is important that your estimate of digestibility should be as accurate as possible. The intake of herbage and the efficiency with which the animal uses the digested feed depend very strongly on the digestibility of the feed eaten. Your estimate becomes even more important when the weight of herbage is low, because there is then less scope for selective grazing.

Your estimates (for a temperate pasture) will depend on the proportions of
  • young leaf (75-80% digestible),
  • old leaf & young stem (65-75%),
  • mature green stem (55-65%),
  • recently dead material (40-55%) and
  • old dead material (30-40%).

For a tropical pasture, the digestibility of each of the plant parts is likely to be about 15 percentage units lower than the values shown above for temperate pastures. For green stem, the difference may be much greater.

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