• Quality and botanical composition of cattle diets under rotational and continuous grazing treatments

      Walker, John W.; Heitschmidt, Rodney K.; D, Elino A.; Kothmann, Merwyn M.; Dowhower, Steve L. (Society for Range Management, 1989-05-01)
      Proponents of rotational grazing claim that individual animal performance in a properly managed rotational grazing (RG) treatment will be equal to or greater than that in other, less intensively managed treatments even when rate of stocking in the RG treatment is much greater. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of a heavily stocked RG treatment, at 2 stock densities, on quality and botanical composition of cattle diets. The control treatment was a moderately stocked, continuously grazed pasture. Diets were collected from all treatments on 8 dates over a 22-month period using esophageally fistulated steers. Only minor differences occurred among treatments in dietary crude protein (CP), organic matter digestibility (OMD), and botanical composition. Diet quality and species composition of diets were closely correlated with quality and availability of live herbage, which varied more among trials than among treatments. Quality and composition of diets collected during the first and last day of grazing in the RG paddocks were not different. These data support the hypothesis that installing rotational grazing at a high stocking rate does not lower diet quality and would not be expected to be a factor affecting individual animal performance.