Browsing Rangeland Ecology & Management, Volume 58, Number 5 (September 2005) by Subjects
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Heifer Production on Rangeland and Seeded Forages in the Northern Great PlainsIntegrating use of seeded perennial cool-season grass pastures with native rangeland can increase available forage and provide a high plane of nutrition for grazing livestock. Our objective was to compare performance of yearling beef heifers grazing native rangeland with those grazing an integrated system that included seeded forages. Twice-replicated, 3-ha pastures seeded to either ‘Rosana’ western wheatgrass (Pascopyron smithii [Rydb.] A. Love), ‘Luna’ pubescent wheatgrass (Elytrigia intermedia [Host] Nevski), or ‘Hycrest’ crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum [L.] Gaertn. ssp. desertorum [Fisch. ex Link] A. Love) were grazed in spring, whereas twice-replicated, 3.24-ha pastures seeded to either ‘Alkar’ tall wheatgrass (Thinopyrum ponticum [Podp.] ZW Liu RC Wang), ‘NewHy’ hybrid wheatgrass (Elymus hoffmannii KB Jensen KH Asay), ‘Bozoisky’ Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea [Fisch.] Nevski.), or ‘Prairieland’ Altai wildrye (Leymus angustus [Trin.] Pilger) were grazed in autumn. Native rangeland was grazed during summer in the integrated system and spring, summer, and autumn in the rangeland treatment. Heifers exhibited greater weight gains on seeded pastures than on native rangeland in spring and autumn of most years. In 2 out of 3 years, heifers that grazed native rangeland during spring gained more (P = 0.012 for gain head-1 and P = 0.021 for gain head-1 day-1) while grazing native rangeland during summer than heifers that grazed seeded pastures in spring. Spring + summer gains averaged (mean +/- SE) 0.56 +/- 0.01 kg head-1 d-1 and 73.1 +/- 1.6 kg head-1. Livestock managers need to consider their livestock marketing and management strategies when using seeded pastures for seasonal grazing.