• Beef cattle distribution patterns on foothill range

      Pinchak, W. E.; Smith, M. A.; Hart, R. H.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1991-05-01)
      A 3-year experiment designed to quantify the spatial and temporal utilization patterns of range sites by beef cattle on summer foothill range was conducted on the Wick Brothers Management Unit of the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, 8 km w. of Arlington, Wyo. The grazing seasons, in replicate pastures, were from 15 July-9 August, 15 June-26 July, and 15 June-2 August in 1980, 1981, and 1982, respectively. Daily observations were made of radio-telemetry collared cattle (3 per pasture). Cattle dispersion was constrained by the spatial distribution of water and slope. Across 3 seasons, 77% of observed use was within 366 m of water. Approximately 65% of the land area was beyond 723 m from water and sustained only 12% of observed use. Cattle concentrated use (79%) on slopes less than 7%. Consequently 35% of the area, on or surrounded by slopes > 10%, received only 7% of observed use. Loamy, grazable woodland and wetland/subirrigated range sites were most preferred and accounted for over 65% of observed use while occupying less than 35% of the land area. Overall, coarse upland, very shallow and shallow loamy sites were not preferred; however, site preference varied as areas further from water were utilized. Observed use was significantly (P < 0.10) correlated (r 0.41 to 0.69) with standing crop and crude protein standing crop over various growth form characteristics of the forage component. Associated stepwise regression models accounted for 44 to 73% of the variation in observed use over the 1982 grazing season. As the forage complex became more similar, in terms of standing crop and crude protein content, significantly less (P < 0.05) variation in use was accounted for by the forage variables (0-37%).
    • Beef Cattle Performance on Crested Wheatgrass plus Native Range vs. Native Range Alone

      Hart, R. H.; Waggoner, J. W.; Clark, D. H.; Kaltenbach, C. C.; Hager, J. A.; Marshall, M. B. (Society for Range Management, 1983-01-01)
      Cattle gains and conception rates in 1974-1977 on crested wheatgrass pasture in spring and fall and native range in summer (CW-NR system) were compared with performance on native range throughout the grazing season (NR system). The CW-NR and NR systems were stocked at 0.20 and 0.10 AU/ha, respectively. Conception rates on CW-NR and NR were 84% and 86%, respectively, excluding results from 1975 when there were problems with heat detection; this difference was not significant. Cow, heifer, and calf gains (average of 0.30, 0.41, and 0.82 kg/day, respectively) and calf weaning weights (average of 196 kg) did not differ significantly between systems. Because of the higher carrying capacity of CW-NR, calf production averaged 24.8 kg/ha vs. 13.0 kg/ha on NR. Other advantages of the CW-NR system included reduced labor for heat checking and for gathering cows for breeding.
    • Cattle grazing behavior on a foothill elk winter range in southeastern Wyoming

      Hart, R. H.; Hepworth, K. W.; Smith, M. A.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1991-05-01)
      Cattle at a light stocking rate of 0.17 to 0.18 AUM/ha over a 35-day grazing season in summer preferred to graze on lowland range sites, while elk in winter preferred upland range sites. We changed stocking rates on the same pastures to a moderate rate of 0.28 AUM/ha and a very light rate of 0.034 AUM/ha to determine the effects of stocking rate on cattle preference for range sites and possible habitat overlap between cattle and elk. At all stocking rates, cattle spent significantly more time grazing on loamy range sites and less time on other sites than would be expected on the basis of area occupied by the sites. When grazing pressure was increased from light to moderate, cattle grazing time on loamy sites increased. When grazing pressure was decreased from light to very light, cattle grazed only loamy and shallow sites to the complete exclusion of other sites. Cattle grazed farther from water as stocking rate increased and as the grazing season progressed. They also grazed on steeper slopes as stocking rate increased, and as the season progressed under the highest stocking rate. Even at the highest stocking rate studied, there was little habitat overlap between cattle and elk.
    • Gains of Steers and Calves Grazing Crested Wheatgrass

      Hart, R. H.; Balla, E. F.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1983-07-01)
      Efficient utilization of pasture requires proper class of livestock, stocking rate, and season of use. Crested wheatgrass was grazed with steers in spring for 3 years at two stocking rates and with calves in fall for 2 years at 2 stocking rates to evaluate alternate uses. Differences in forage production and lengths of grazing season over years produced grazing pressures of 47-79 steer days or 53-73 calf days per metric tonne of forage produced. Steer gains of 0.85-1.20 kg/day were unaffected by grazing pressure, but lighter steers gained faster. Implantation of 36 mg of Ralgro per steer increased daily gains by 13%. Calf gains were 0.15-0.24 kg/day, and decreased with increasing grazing pressure according to the function ADG=0.45-0.0041 (calf days/tonne forage); r2=0.95. Such grazing pressure-gain response functions facilitate comparisons between seasons of use and class of livestock, as well as those between stocking rates, and help range managers make management decisions. Maximum steer gains in spring per hectare and tonne of forage were over 3 and 6 times, respectively, the gains of calves in fall.
    • Grazing systems, pasture size, and cattle grazing behavior, distribution and gains

      Hart, R. H.; Bissio, J.; Samuel, M. J.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1993-01-01)
      Reduced pasture size and distance to water may be responsible for the alleged benefits of intensive time-controlled rotation grazing systems. We compared cattle gains, activity, distance traveled, and forage utilization on a time-controlled rotation system with eight 24-ha pastures, on two 24-ha pastures grazed continuously (season-long), and on a 207-ha pasture grazed continuously, all stocked at the same rate. Utilization on the 207-ha pasture, but not on the 24-ha pastures, declined with distance from water. At distances greater than 3 km from water in the 207-ha pasture, utilization was significantly less than on adjacent 24-ha pastures, at distances of 1.0 to 1.6 km from water. Cows on the 207-ha pasture travelled farther (6.1 km/day) than cows on the 24-ha rotation pastures (4.2 km/day), which traveled farther than cows on the 24-ha continuously grazed pastures (3.2 km/day). Grazing system, range site, slope, and weather had minimal effects on cow activity patterns. Gains of cows and calves were less on the 207-ha pasture (0.24 and 0.77 kg/day, respectively) than on the 24-ha rotation pastures or 24-ha continuously grazed pastures (0.42 and 0.89 kg/da, respectively), with no differences between the latter. Calculated "hoof action" on the rotation pastures was less than that demonstrated to increase seed burial and seedling emergence. Intensive rotation grazing systems are unlikely to benefit animal performance unless they reduce pasture size and distance to water below previous levels, decreasing travel distance and increasing uniformity of grazing.
    • Grazing systems, stocking rates, and cattle behavior in southeastern Wyoming

      Hepworth, K. W.; Test, P. S.; Hart, R. H.; Waggoner, J. W.; Smith, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 1991-05-01)
      Grazing systems and stocking rates are used to influence livestock grazing behavior with the intent of improving livestock and vegetation performance. In 1982, a study was initiated to determine effects of continuous, rotationally deferred, and short-duration rotation grazing and moderate and heavy stocking rates on steer gains, range vegetation, and distance traveled by and activity patterns of steers. Steers were observed from dawn to dark on 12 dates during 1983, 1984, and 1985, and activity recorded every 15 minutes. Eight steers per treatment (system X stocking rate combination) per date were observed in 1983 and 1984, and 10 per treatment in 1985. In 1984 and 1985, map locations of all steers were recorded at the same times as activity, and distance traveled summed from distances between successive map locations. In 1984, activity of 3 steers per treatment was electronically monitored during darkness. Steers grazed approximately 8.6 hr per day during daylight and 1.6 hr during darkness. Steers grazed an average of 8.9 hr/day during daylight under moderate vs 8.1 hr under heavy stocking, but stocking rate interacted with date in 1984 and grazing system in 1985. Steers traveled farther under continuous than under short-duration rotation grazing at both stocking rates in 1984, but only at the high stocking rate in 1985. Steers had to travel farther to water in the continuous pastures, and may have had to cover a greater area in an effort to select a more desirable diet, particularly under heavy stocking. These differences were not reflected in differences in gain among stocking rates or grazing systems.
    • Horses and Cattle Grazing in the Wyoming Red Desert. I. Food Habits and Dietary Overlap

      Krysl, L. J.; Hubbert, M. E.; Sowell, B. F.; Plumb, G. E.; Jewett, T. K.; Smith, M. A.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1984-01-01)
      The sagebrush-grass range in southcentral Wyoming presently supports large numbers of feral horses and domestic livestock. Diets of feral horses and cattle during summer and winter grazing were evaluated using fecal analysis under 2 stocking levels in small pastures. Horses and cattle consumed primarily grasses during the summer and winter. However, shrubs and forbs were also important dietary components. Needleandthread, Sandberg bluegrass, thickspike wheatgrass, Indian ricegrass, gray horsebrush, and winterfat were the major foods of horses and cattle during the summer and winter. Dietary overlap between horses and cattle during the summer averaged 72% and increased to 84% during the winter. Horses and cattle selected foods in a similar order.
    • Horses and Cattle Grazing in the Wyoming Red Desert. II. Dietary Quality

      Krysi, L. J.; Sowell, B. F.; Hubbert, M. E.; Plumb, G. E.; Jewett, T. K.; Smith, M. A.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1984-05-01)
      Botanical composition of horse and cattle diets from fecal analysis and nutrient quality of hand-harvested forages used by these herbivores were evaluated to assess dietary quality during the summer and winter seasons of 1981 in the Wyoming Red Desert. Dietary crude protein estimates averaged 7.5 +/- 0.1% and 9.0 +/- 0.5% during the summer for horses and cattle, respectively. Dietary crude protein estimates in the winter were lower, averaging 6.1 +/- 0% and 6.0 +/- 0% for horses and cattle, respectively. Estimated dietary calcium levels for both herbivores were high through the summer and winter, while dietary phosphorus levels appear to be deficient during both seasons. Average in vitro dry matter disappearance coefficients for horses and cattle during the summer were 52 +/- 2% and 52 +/- 2%, respectively. During the winter these values dropped to 39 +/- 1% and 40 +/- 1% for horses and cattle, respectively.
    • Horses and Cattle Grazing on the Wyoming Red Desert, III

      Plumb, G. E.; Krysl, L. J.; Hubbert, M. E.; Smith, M. A.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1984-03-01)
      Vegetative cover losses due to trampling near watering sites in the summer and winter are compared for horses grazed alone, cattle grazed alone and horses and cattle grazed in combination. There were significant differences (p<.05) found in the rates of total cover loss as a function of distance to water in both the summer and winter. Grasses sustained heavy trampling losses in all treatments in both seasons. Forbs sustained heavy losses in all treatments during summer. Shrub losses were moderate to low in all treatments during both seasons. Total cover loss was similar in all summer and winter treatments.
    • Optimal stocking rate for cow-calf enterprises on native range and complementary improved pastures

      Hart, R. H.; Waggoner, J. W.; Dunn, T. G.; Kaltenbach, C. C.; Adams, L. D. (Society for Range Management, 1988-09-01)
      Complementary pasture-native range systems are known to increase production per cow and per hectare of cow-calf enterprises, but the proper ratio of complementary pasture to range and the optimum stocking rate on each has not been established. From 1978-1985, crested wheatgrass [Agropyron desertorum (Fisch.) Schult.]-native range and meadow bromegrass (Bromus biebersteinii Roem. and Schult.)-alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.)-native range systems were grazed by cow-calf pairs and yearling heifers at a range of grazing pressures. Gains of all classes of cattle and conception rate of cows remained constant across a range of low grazing pressures, then declined linearly as grazing pressure increased. These response functions were used to calculate economically optimum pasture-to-range ratios and stocking rates at 1980-1984 average costs and prices. The optimum ratio of crested wheatgrass to range at estimated yields, costs and prices was 1:3.94 (0.66 ha of wheatgrass and 2.60 ha of range per animal unit), which returned $35.70/ha to land, labor, and management. Usual ratios of 1:8 to 1:12 were much less profitable. At optimum stocking rates, the brome-alfalfa-native range system returned only $3.38 more per hectare than the crested wheatgrass-native range system, not enough to pay additional cost of irrigation. Optimum ratios, stocking rates, and returns will vary with levels of forage production, production costs, and livestock prices.
    • Plains larkspur (Delphinium geyeri) grazing by cattle in Wyoming

      Pfister, J. A.; Gardner, D. R.; Stegelmeier, B. L.; Knight, A. P.; Waggoner, J. W.; Hall, J. O. (Society for Range Management, 2002-07-01)
      Plains larkspur (Delphinium geyeri Greene) is a major cause of cattle deaths in the northern Great Plains of Wyoming and Colorado. We examined the amount and timing of larkspur ingestion by grazing cattle in relation to larkspur phenology, nutrient concentrations, and weather conditions. Four summer grazing trials were conducted near Cheyenne (1996 and 1997) and Laramie, Wyo. (1998 and 1999). All trials began when plains larkspur was vegetative or in the early bud stage. In the first 2 studies, 6 yearling heifers grazed from 3 May to 4 August 1996; the same animals plus 5 cow-calf pairs grazed from 13 May to 10 August 1997. During both 1996 and 1997, cattle ate 0.5 to 1% of bites as larkspur during May, then consumption decreased to nearly 0 during the remainder of both summers. When eaten, larkspur was typically consumed during cool, foggy weather conditions. In the last 2 studies, 6 cow-calf pairs grazed near Laramie, Wyo., from 13 May to 30 June 1998, and 6 different cow-calf pairs grazed from 2 June to 20 July 1999. Cattle ate substantial amounts of plains larkspur (herd average approximately 3%) during the vegetative and bud stages from mid-May into early June, 1998. Cattle may have eaten more larkspur during 1998 because drought reduced spring availability of green grass. Consumption of larkspur was negatively related (r2 = 0.43) to daily temperature in 1998, but not during 1999. During 1999 cattle ate essentially no plains larkspur during the vegetative and bud stages, but ate larkspur (herd average approximately 5%) during the flower and pod stages when larkspur plants were beginning to desiccate and ambient temperatures were above average. This series of trials indicates that it will be difficult to predict plains larkspur consumption based on larkspur growth patterns or weather. Although cattle sometimes increase plains larkspur consumption when temperatures are cooler than normal, this pattern is not consistent enough to serve as a basis for management recommendations.
    • Quality of Forage and Cattle Diets on the Wyoming High Plains

      Hart, R. H.; Abdalla, O. M.; Clark, D. H.; Marshall, M. B.; Hamid, M. H.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1983-01-01)
      Diets of cattle grazing crested wheatgrass [Agropyron desertorum (Fisch.) Schult.] or native range pastures and major forage species in these diets were analysed for crude protein (CP), acid and neutral detergent fiber (ADF and NDF), lignin, and in vitro dry matter disappearance (IVDMD) 1975-1978. Objectives were to determine (1) rate of change in forage quality, (2) effect of weather on rate of change, and (3) degree of selection for diet quality by cattle. CP of 6 forage species declined .03-.23 percentage points/day, while IVDMD declined .06-.90 points/day. CP and IVDMD of western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii Rydb.), blue grama [Bouteloua gracilis (H.B.K.) Lag. ex Steud.], and scarlet globemallow [Spahaeralcea coccinea (Pursh.) Rydb.] were high in spring, while ADF, NDF, and lignin were low, but quality of grasses decreased much faster than that of the forb. Quality of needleandthread (Stipa comata Trin. & Rupr.) was lower than that of the other two grasses in spring, but CP declined more slowly then, while IVDMD declined at the same rates as that of blue grama and western wheatgrass. Quality of sedges (Carex spp.) was similar to that of western wheatgrass and blue grama in spring, but CP decreased faster while fiber components increased slower than those of grasses. CP of western wheatgrass and blue grama was increased by abundant spring rainfall, while that of blue grama increased after heavy summer rains. As the season progressed, cattle on range selected diets higher in crude protein and lower in cellulose than expected on the basis of botanical composition of the diet and composition of individual species. Quality of forage consumed increased markedly in mid-July when immature blue grama replaced needleandthread in the diet. Quality of crested wheatgrass declined faster than that of range grasses, although it was higher early in the spring. Diets of cattle on crested wheatgrass pasture in early spring were lower in quality than clipped crested wheatgrass, because of consumption of standing dead material, but diets were higher in quality than clipped grass in late spring.
    • Relative costs and feeding strategies associated with winter/spring calving

      May, G. J.; Van Tassell, L. W.; Waggoner, J. W.; Smith, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 1999-11-01)
      Delaying calving season from late winter to late spring has been suggested as a way for producers in Wyoming and other high elevation areas of the West to reduce feeding costs. We hypothesized that shifting calving season to a later date would reduce feed costs by providing a closer match between cow nutritional requirements and nutritional quality of grazable forage. The objectives of this study were to estimate the cost of feeding a cow under 5 alternative calving month scenarios (February through June) and to identify alternative lower-cost forage practices that could replace feeding hay. Mixed integer programming models were constructed for each calving scenario with the objective of minimizing the cost of providing energy and protein to a mature cow. Objective function values from each model were compared to identify the low feed cost calving month. The ration was balanced for each month of the year, with requirements dependent on the interaction between the reproductive cycle and environmental conditions. Fat reserves were included as an alternative energy source and body condition was allowed to fluctuate. Under average weather conditions, June was the lowest feed cost calving month with a reduction in annual feed costs of 43 cow-1 over February calving. The cost reduction was a result of a shift from mechanical to stock harvested forage, with the cow being maintained at a lower average body condition during the winter.
    • Vegetation, cattle, and economic responses to grazing strategies and pressures

      Manley, W. A.; Hart, R. H.; Samuel, M. J.; Smith, M. A.; Waggoner, J. W.; Manley, J. T. (Society for Range Management, 1997-11-01)
      Rotation grazing strategies have been proposed to increase stocking capacity, improve animal gains, and improve forage production and range condition. We compared continuous or season-long, 4-pasture rotationally deferred, and 8-paddock time-controlled rotation grazing on mixed-grass rangeland near Cheyenne, Wyo. from 1982 through 1994. Stocking rates under light, moderate and heavy grazing averaged 21.6, 47.0, and 62.7 steer-day ha-1; grazing pressures were 11.0 to 90.1 steer-day Mg-1 of forage dry matter produced. We estimated above and below-ground biomass, botanical composition and basal cover. Bare ground and cover of warm-season grasses, forbs, and lichens were greater under heavy stocking; cover of litter, western wheatgrass, and total cool-season graminoids were greater under light stocking. Stocking rate and grazing strategy had no effect on above-ground biomass and little effect on below-ground biomass. Under heavy stocking, percent of above-ground biomass contributed by forbs increased, especially under time-controlled rotation grazing, and that of western wheatgrass decreased. Otherwise, effects of grazing strategy, level vs. slope, and north vs. south slope on vegetation were insignificant. Steer average daily gain decreased linearly as grazing pressure increased (r2 = 0.44); grazing strategies had no significant effect. When cattle prices are favorable, the stocking rates that are most profitable in the short run may be high enough to reduce range condition.