• Alterations in condition of cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) on rangelands following brush management

      Lochmiller, R. L.; Pietz, D. G.; McMurry, S. T.; Leslie, D. M.; Engle, D. M. (Society for Range Management, 1995-05-01)
      Although the use of herbicides and prescribed fire have been shown to increase density of cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) populations, the impact of such brush management practices on their condition has not been explored. We used discriminant analysis to investigate responses of overall physical condition of cottontail rabbits (n = 422 adults) to brush management and succession on replicated disturbed and undisturbed upland hardwood forest-tallgrass prairie over a 6-year period. Five different disturbed habitat types were experimentally created using herbicides (tebuthiuron or triclopyr), fire, or a combination of both. Parameters that were important discriminators of rabbit physical condition among habitat types and post-disturbance successional changes included indices of kidney fat and parasitism, and relative masses of spleen, liver, and dried stomach digesta. Brush management practices using herbicides influenced overall condition of rabbits, but the type of habitat disturbance was not important. Effects on overall body condition of cottontail rabbits from burning disturbed habitats were not apparent until later seral stages when production of herbaceous dicots declined and vegetative composition more closely resembled that of undisturbed areas.
    • Forage intake by beef steers grazing winter wheat with varied herbage allowances

      Redmon, L. A.; McCollum, F. T. III.; Horn, G. W.; Cravey, M. D.; Gunter, S. A.; Beck, P. A.; Mieres, J. M.; San Julian, R. (Society for Range Management, 1995-05-01)
      Two grazing trials were conducted in separate years on a 5.86 ha winter wheat (Triticum aestivum var. Chisholm) pasture divided into 10 experimental paddocks. Paddocks were differentially grazed with beef steers to produce an array of different herbage mass levels, expressed as kg dry matter (DM)/ha. Each experimental paddock was then continuously stocked with 3 beef steers during each 7-day forage intake trial. Daily forage intake, expressed as kg organic matter (OM)/100 kg body weight (BW), was estimated from fecal output (Cr2O3 dilution) of the beef steers and in vitro organic matter disappearance of esophageal masticate collected from each paddock. Estimated daily gain was calculated from forage intake and net energy values calculated from organic matter disappearance data. Forage intake, organic matter disappearance, and estimated daily gain were related to daily herbage allowance, expressed as kg DM 100 kg BW-1 day-1, and herbage mass utilizing a quadratic equation with a plateau function. As herbage allowance increased, organic matter disappearance improved (Y = 62.18 + 1.08 herbage allowance -.022 herbage allowance2; r2 = .64, MSE = 5.06) as did forage intake (Y = 1.3 + .12 herbage allowance -.003 herbage allowance2; r2 = .52, MSE = .07), and estimated daily gain (Y = -.059 + .12 herbage allowance -.003 herbage allowance2; r2 = 59, MSE = .07). Plateaus were achieved at herbage allowance between 20 to 24 kg DM 100 kg BW-1 day-1. Results of this study indicate forage intake and estimated daily gain declined severely as herbage allowance fell below 20 to 24 kg DM 100 kg BW-1 day-1. This data may provide a threshold herbage allowance for initiation of energy supplementation programs for growing cattle on wheat pasture.