Understanding intake on pastures: how, why, and a way forward

William B. Smith, Michael L. Galyean, Robert L. Kallenbach, Paul L. Greenwood, Eric J. Scholljegerdes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


An assessment of dietary intake is a critical component of animal nutrition. Consumption of feed resources is the basis upon which feeding strategies and grazing management are based. Yet, as far back as 1948, researchers have lauded the trials and tribulations of estimation of the phenomenon, especially when focused on grazing animals and pasture resources. The grazing environment presents a unique situation in which the feed resource is not provided to the animal but, rather, the animal operates as the mechanism of harvest. Therefore, tools for estimation must be developed, validated, and applied to the scenario. There are a plethora of methods currently in use for the estimation of intake, ranging from manual measurement of herbage disappearance to digital technologies and sensors, each of which come with its share of advantages and disadvantages. In order to more firmly grasp these concepts and provide a discussion on the future of this estimation, the Forages and Pastures Symposium at the 2020 ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Annual Meeting was dedicated to this topic. This review summarizes the presentations in that symposium and offers further insight into where we have come from and where we are going in the estimation of intake for grazing livestock. c The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberskab062
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021


  • digestibility markers
  • digital technologies
  • grazing
  • intake
  • mathematical models
  • sensors


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