Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 52, Number 1 (January 1999) by Subjects
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Animal and plant response on renovated pastures in western CanadaExtending the present 4 month grazing season in the Aspen parklands of western Canada is of major economic interest to cow-calf producers. A long-term experiment was conducted on 375 ha to compare the present practice of continuous grazing with no fertilizer to a rotational grazing system of 4 paddocks fertilized in alternate years with 90 kg N, 45 kg P2O5, 10 kg S ha-1 and a 6 paddocks rotational grazing system including fertilizing and species replacement by cultivation and reseeding. Compared to the continuously-grazed control, the grazing period was extended by 14-days on the 4-paddock rotation system, and by a further 15-days on the 6-paddock rotation system, divided about equally between spring and fall. Forage yield, cow weight gains and calf growth were significantly improved, and year-to-year variation in forage yield and animal weight gain was reduced. In the 6-paddock rotation system, breaking 1 paddock at a time in summer after grazing, and reseeding the following spring caused no noticeable reduction in grazing capacity. Replacing the bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.) dominated vegetation in 1 of the 6 paddocks with an early-growing grass contributed to the grazing season extension. Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn.) performed well in this role; Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski) died out within 6 years of seeding.