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Are There Distinct Foraging Personalities in the High Country? Cristian Moreno

This is a project looking at the foraging behaviour of cattle using GPS technology to track cattle set stocked and rotationally grazed systems.

On farmland with gullys and hills, animals move around to graze during the day. However, not all cattle exhibit the same behaviour or ‘personality’ when it comes to grazing. Differences in foraging personalities were found using GPS collars that track animal location and daily distances covered.

Some, permanent, differences in grazing behaviour can be linked to genetic differences between animals. There are also some daily and seasonal patterns. For example, some animals covered more distance during winter months, which could be due to cattle working harder for the available pasture. There was a significant difference between set stocked animals vs. those that were rotationally grazed. The rotationally grazed animals covered more distance in a day, which could be due to more competition for the available feed.

No significant difference was found between distance travelled and animal performance, however a couple of interesting animals from this trial were identified. Two Hereford cows that travelled the same distance per day with one cow losing weight over the trial, and one gaining weight. The cow losing weight was going up and down hills a lot more than the animal gaining weight. This indicates there is still a lot to explore in this interning field

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