• Herbage dynamics on 2 Northern Great Plains range sites

      Heitschmidt, R. K.; Grings, E. E.; Haferkamp, M. R.; Karl, M. G. (Society for Range Management, 1995-05-01)
      Quantity and quality of forage produced are primary determinants of level of livestock production derived from grazing lands. Moreover, species composition of herbage is often considered a primary determinant of the ecological condition of rangelands. The broad objective of this study was to quantify the productivity, growth dynamics, and quality of herbage growing on 2 Northern Great Plains range sites and to concurrently relate magnitude and composition of production to the ecological condition of the sites. Using frequent harvest techniques, the 2-year study showed herbage production on the highly productive silty range site averaged 219 g m-2 as compared to 218 g m-2 on the supposedly less productive clay pan range site. The primary reason the clay pan site proved to be as productive as the silty site was attributed to the greater amounts of introduced annual grasses on the clay pan (148 g m-2) than the silty site (104 g m-2). The annual grass component on the clay pan was a near equal mix (71 vs 51 g m-2) of Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus Thunb.) and cheatgrass (B. tectorum L.) whereas the overwhelming dominant on the silty site was cheatgrass (73 g m-2). Western wheatgrass [Pascopyrum smithii Rydh. (Love)] was the dominant perennial grass on both sites averaging 49 g m-2 on the clay pan site and 57 g m-2 on the silty site. There were minimal differences between sites in terms of nutrient quality values (i.e., crude protein, acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber) with results showing clearly that age of tissue was the major factor altering seasonal forage quality values. Range condition analyses revealed the clay pan site was in fair ecological condition and the silty site was in good condition. Study results demonstrate the need for land management agencies to continue to refine productivity estimates as well as adopt new techniques for assessing the ecological condition of rangelands.
    • Influence of temperature on germination of Japanese brome seed

      Haferkamp, M. R.; Palmquist, D.; Young, J. A.; MacNeil, M. D. (Society for Range Management, 1995-05-01)
      Japanese brome (Bromus japonicus Thunb.), an introduced annual grass, is now common in some northern mixed-prairie communities. This species has the potential to alter both the seasonality of standing crop and forage quality. We sought to gain a greater understanding of Japanese brome seed germination by subjecting seed to a series of 55 constant or alternating temperature regimes following 3 to 9 months of dry laboratory storage. Cold and moderate temperature regimes provided optimum germination conditions (defined as not lower than the maximum observed minus one-half its confidence interval at the 0.05 level of probability). Extremely cold or warm temperatures suppressed germination. Germination of afterripened seed over a wide range of temperature combinations, many of which occur during fall in the Northern Great Plains, should enhance establishment and perpetuation of Japanese brome on rangelands.