• Grazing intensity impacts on pasture carbon and nitrogen flow

      Baron, V. S.; Mapfumo, E.; Dick, A. C.; Naeth, M. A.; Okine, E. K.; Chanasyk, D. S. (Society for Range Management, 2002-11-01)
      There is little information on the impact of grazing intensity on productivity and sustainability of intensively managed pastures in the humid, short-season parkland of the Canadian prairies. Our hypothesis was that above-ground productivity of dry matter, carbon, nitrogen, and in vitro digestible organic matter would be reduced proportionately with increasing grazing intensity. The study was conducted on a Typic Haplustoll at Lacombe, Alberta. Paddocks of meadow bromegrass (Bromus riparius Rhem.), replicated 4 times, were subjected to heavy, medium and light grazing intensities. Measurements and analyses were carried out for 3 years. Yields of dry matter, carbon, nitrogen, and in vitro digestible organic matter before and after grazing were determined and seasonal pools of above ground production, disappearance and residual were calculated. Concentrations of acid and neutral detergent fiber and lignin were also determined before and after grazing. Increasing grazing intensity tended to increase nitrogen and decrease fiber concentrations for available and residual forage. Heavy and medium grazing intensities produced 83 and 90% as much above ground dry matter and 87 and 90% above ground carbon as the light intensity. All disappearance pools were similar among grazing intensities except in vitro digestible organic matter, where heavy was 116% of light. Heavy grazing reduced the contribution of vegetative dry matter, in vitro digestible organic matter, carbon and nitrogen to the residual to 41, 50, 36, and 52% of that for light grazing. Adding estimated fecal-carbon to the residual significantly increased total residual carbon. Estimated fecal-carbon represented 68, 51, and 42% of all carbon inputs to litter for heavy, medium and light grazing, respectively. Grazing intensity did not affect estimated pools of excreted nitrogen, but increased estimated precent of nitrogen excreted as urine.
    • Yield and feeding of prairie grasses in east-central Alberta

      Suleiman, A.; Okine, E. K.; Goonewardene, L. A.; Day, P. A.; Yaremcio, B.; Recinos-Diaz, G. (Society for Range Management, 1999-01-01)
      Information on the yield of grasses as the plants mature is useful to optimize grazing potential and quality hay production. The objectives of this study were to compare the yield and feeding value of 11 common prairie grasses over 2 yearly cycles of growth and determine which of the grasses may require supplementation to meet nutrient requirements of grazing cattle. Dry matter yield (DM), crude protein (CP), acid detergent fiber (ADF), calcium (Ca), and phosphorus (P) values were obtained for brome (Bromus inermis [L.]), creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra [L.]), crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertn), intermediate wheatgrass (Agropyron intermedium (host) Beauv), meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis [L.]), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata [L.]), pubescent wheatgrass (Agropyron trichophorum Link. richt), streambank wheatgrass (Agropyron riparium Scriba &Smith), slender wheatgrass (Agropyron trachycaulum Link Malte), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb), and timothy (Phleum pratense [L.]) at weekly intervals from June to September, in 1992 and 1993. Most grasses reached maximum yields at week 8 in 1992 (drought year) and week 12 in 1993 (normal year). Herbage mass yields (g/0.25m2 at week 8 in 1992 (highest to lowest yielding) were crested wheatgrass (235), intermediate wheatgrass(210), pubescent wheatgrass(173), brome(161), slender wheatgrass(152), meadow foxtail(114), Tall fescue(110), timothy(101), orchardgrass(83), creeping red fescue(56), and streambank wheatgrass(50). Herbage mass yields pattern of the grasses in 1993 was similar to that in 1992 except for crested wheatgrass and brome which ranked first and fourth in 1992 but ranked fifth and second, in 1993, respectively. Quality declined in all grasses as they matured. The average CP content of grasses declined from 24% to 13% in 1992 and from 21.5% to 12.1% in 1993 but were adequate to meet crude protein requirements of growing, pregnant or lactating grazing cattle. The Ca levels in all grasses were adequate for all classes of cattle on pasture but the low P levels of 0.11% in both years indicate that growing, pregnant or lactating cattle grazing on these pastures would require P supplementation.