• A comparison of frontal, continuous, and rotation grazing systems

      Volesky, J. D.; O'Farrell, F. De Achaval; Ellis, W. C.; Kothmann, M. M.; Horn, F. P.; Phillips, W. A.; Coleman, S. W. (Society for Range Management, 1994-05-01)
      Two 2-year trials were conducted to evaluate and compare frontal, continuous, and 2-paddock rotation grazing systems on 'Plains' Old World bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) Keng.). Frontal grazing allows livestock a continuous opportunity to graze fresh forage via a livestock-pushed, sliding fence which allocates and controls grazing within a pasture. Trial 1 treatments included frontal grazing at a very high stocking density of 13.3 head ha-1 and continuous grazing at 4 stocking densities described as low, moderate, high, and very high. The mechanical design and components of our frontal grazing system were quite adequate in terms of the system's operation and interaction with the livestock herd. Significant (P < 0.05) linear relationships were found for regressions of daily gain on stocking rate and grazing pressure index, and for gain ha-1 on stocking rate and grazing pressure index. Year effects were evident in all regressions. Trial 2 treatments included frontal, continuous, and rotation grazing systems initially stocked at 6.7 head ha-1. Mid-season reductions in stocking density were made in continuous and rotation grazing to ensure that these treatments would have adequate forage to continue until frontal grazing completed its second cycle and to achieve an end-of-season standing crop which was similar in all 3 treatments. Season-long daily gains under frontal grazing were not significantly different compared to continuous grazing (P > 0.05); however, they were less than those under rotation grazing (P < 0.05). Frontal grazing provided about 100 more steer-days per hectare of grazing than either continuous or rotation grazing. However, steer production was not significantly different among treatments and averaged 296 kg ha-1 (P > 0.05).
    • Little bluestem tiller defoliation patterns under continuous and rotational grazing

      Derner, J. D.; Gillen, R. L.; McCollum, F. T.; Tate, K. W. (Society for Range Management, 1994-05-01)
      Defoliation patterns of little bluestem [Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash] on tallgrass prairie were compared using continuous and rotational grazing systems on six 24-ha pastures for each system over a range of stocking rates (0.28 to 0.49 AU ha-1) in 1991 and 1992. We tested the generalization that rotational grazing provides greater managerial control over the frequency, intensity, and uniformity of tiller defoliation compared to continuous grazing. Rotational system pastures were subdivided into 8 paddocks with 4 grazing cycles (3-7 day graze periods) per grazing season. Tillers were sampled biweekly in continuous system pastures and at the beginning, midpoint, and end of each grazing period in rotational system pastures. Multiple regression prediction equations were developed for grazed height, number of defoliation events in a grazing season, percent of tillers defoliated per sampling period (of continuous system) and grazing cycle (for rotation system), and number of defoliation events within a grazing cycle (rotational system). Grazed height decreased as stocking rate increased, but was not influenced by grazing system. The number of cumulative defoliation events per tiller increased with increasing stocking rate over the grazing season. Under similar stocking rates, a higher percentage of tillers were defoliated during the grazing season in the continuous than in the rotational grazing system. Within both grazing systems, percentage of tillers defoliated increased with increasing stocking rates. The percentage of tillers defoliated biweekly in continuous system pastures was similar over the grazing season; the percentage of tillers defoliated per cycle increased as grazing periods lengthened in rotational system pastures. A large number of tillers were defoliated during the second half of each grazing period. Less than 10% of tillers were regrazed within a grazing cycle, even at the highest stocking rate and longest grazing period. Rotational grazing provided greater managerial control over the frequency and uniformity of tiller defoliation; intensity of tiller defoliation was similar between the 2 grazing systems. We hypothesize higher range condition will be maintained over the long-term in rotational system pastures as little bluestem will remain more competitive and productive resulting from fewer defoliation events throughout the grazing season.