• Effects of Forage Management on Pasture Productivity and Phosphorus Content

      Haan, M. M.; Russell, J. R.; Kovar, J. L.; Powers, W. J.; Benning, J. L. (Society for Range Management, 2007-05-01)
      The objectives of the current study were to determine the amounts of above- and below-ground plant biomass production, P uptake by forage, and P concentration of cool-season grass forage as influenced by management and season. Five forage management treatments were evaluated over 3 years in smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss) pastures. Management practices were: ungrazed (U), hay harvest/fall stockpile grazing (HS), rotational stocking to residual sward heights of 10 (10R) or 5 (5R) cm, and continuous stocking to maintain sward height at 5 cm (5C). Forage samples were hand-clipped within and outside grazing exclosures monthly from April through November of each year and analyzed for mass and P concentration. Root samples were collected at the initiation and completion of the study for determination of root length density (RLD) and root surface area density (RSAD). Phosphorus concentrations of forage outside the grazing exclosures did not differ among 5C, 5R, and 10R treatments, which were greater than U paddocks in April and August and less than HS paddocks in June. Mean annual forage productivity was greater in HS, 10R, 5R, and 5C paddocks (6 744 +/- 62 kg ha-1 mean +/- SE) than in the U paddocks (1 872 +/- 255 kg ha-1). Mean P concentration of forage outside exclosures was greatest during the spring (0.21 +/- 0.01%), and lowest during the fall (0.13 +/- 0.01%). Mean annual P uptake by forage followed the same trend as forage production, being greater in the HS, 10R, 5R, and 5C paddocks (13.9 +/- 2.0 kg ha-1) than in the U paddocks (3.7 +/- 0.5 kg ha-1). After 3 years, RLD decreased in the ungrazed paddocks, but was unchanged in the HS, 10R, 5R, and 5C paddocks. Forage production and P uptake by forage is stimulated by forage harvest, either by grazing or hay harvest in smooth bromegrass pastures. 
    • Grazing Management and Microclimate Effects on Cattle Distribution Relative to a Cool Season Pasture Stream

      Haan, M. M.; Russell, J. R.; Davis, J. D.; Morrical, D. G. (Society for Range Management, 2010-09-01)
      Because of concerns about the impact of grazing management on surface water quality, a 3-yr study was conducted to determine grazing management and microclimate impacts on cattle distribution relative to a pasture stream and shade. Three treatments, continuous stocking with unrestricted stream access (CSU), continuous stocking with restricted stream access (CSR), and rotational stocking (RS), were evaluated on six 12.1-ha cool-season grass pastures stocked with 15 fall-calving Angus cows (Bos taurus L.) from mid-May through mid-October of each year. On 2 d mo-1 from May through September of each year, a trained observer in each pasture recorded cattle position and activity every 10 min from 0600 to 1800 hours. In years 2 and 3, position of one cow per pasture was recorded with a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar at 10-min intervals 24 h d-1 for 2 wk mo-1 from May through September. In week 2 of collar deployment in May, July, and September, cattle had access to off-stream water. Ambient temperature, black globe temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed were recorded at 10-min intervals and temperature humidity (THI), black globe temperature humidity (BGTHI), and heat load (HLI) indices were calculated. Based on GPS collars, mean percentage of time cows in CSU pastures were in the stream (1.1%) and streamside zone (10.5%) were greater (P < 0.05) than cows in CSR (0.2% and 1.8%) or RS (0.1% and 1.5%) pastures. Based on GPS collar data, off-stream water did not affect the percentage of time cattle in CSU or CSR pastures spent in the stream. Probabilities that cattle in CSU and CSR pastures were in the stream or riparian zones increased (P < 0.05) as ambient temperature, black globe temperature, THI, BGTHI, and HLI increased. Rotational stocking and restricted stream access were effective strategies to decrease the amount of time cattle spent in or near a pasture stream.