• Factors influencing pine needle consumption by grazing cattle during winter

      Pfister, J. A.; Adams, D. C. (Society for Range Management, 1993-09-01)
      Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Lawson) needles cause abortions in pregnant cows. We examined pine needle consumption by cattle in 2 trials in eastern Montana. Trial 1 compared pregnant and open cows (n=4) from January to March 1989; trial 2 compared pregnant cattle (n=4) that received either 9 kg alfalfa hay head-1 day-1 or 1.4 kg alfalfa pellets head-1 day-1 from December 1989 to February 1990. Diets were estimated using both bite counts and fecal analysis. During trial 1, bite counts revealed pregnant and open cows consumed 45 and 42% of their grazing diets as pine needles (P>0.1). Fecal analysis showed that pregnant cows consumed more pine needles than did open cows (36% vs. 27%, respectively) (P<0.05). During trial 2, cattle consumed < 1% of their diets as pine needles. In trial 1 cattle consumed less pine litter and consumed more needles from trees as snow depth increased. Consumption of needles from trees increased as ambient temperature declined; no needles were consumed from trees when the minimum daily temperature exceeded -5” C. During both trials, grazing times decreased as temperatures declined, and increased as snow depth and wind speed decreased. We conclude that weather is a major factor influencing needle consumption; other interrelated factors may be forage availability, snow cover, and grazing time. Plne needle consumption, and the risk of abortion, in pregnant cattle appears to be greatly diminished during mild winter weather.
    • Research Observation: Chemical repellants to reduce grazing intensity on reclaimed sites

      Osko, T. J.; Hardin, R. T.; Young, B. A. (Society for Range Management, 1993-09-01)
      Revegetation of disturbed rangelands in western Canada is severely impeded by cattle grazing. Fencing to protect emergent vegetation is costly and restricts animal movement. Chemically repelling cattle from emergent vegetation may provide a convenient and economical alternative to fencing. This study determined whether certain repellents could reduce grazing intensity on vegetation to which they were applied compared to untreated vegetation. Canopy measurements were used to compare grazing intensity. Three trials were conducted on reclaimed land within the Aspen Parkland region of central Alberta. Time since reclamation was over 10 years in Trial A, 2 years in Trial B, and 3 weeks in Trial C. Pregnant mares' urine, Hinder® (150 mg ml-1 ammonium soaps), Skoot® (120 mg mi-1 tetramethylthiuram disulfide), and Deer-Away Big Game Repellent® (37% putrescent egg solids) were evaluated. Two concentrations of each repellent were sprayed onto 1 X 3-m treatment plots randomized within blocks replicated 4 to 6 times. Plot canopies were measured either by gently resting a sheet of plastic laminate over the canopy, or by lowering a sliding bar attached perpendicularly to a meter stick until it contacted the uppermost leaves of the canopy, and recording the height of the sheet or bar above the soil surface. Canopies of plots treated with Big Game Repellent® were taller than control plot canopies on each measurement date in all trials, indicating grazing was reduced. Big Game Repellent® plots were also generally taller than plots treated with other repellents. Canopies of plots treated with pregnant mares' urine, Hinder®, and Skoot® generally did not differ from control plots, nor did they differ from each other in any trial. Low repellent concentrations did not reduce grazing in any trial, but high concentrations reduced grazing in all trials. Repellent effectiveness was not permanent since all canopy measurements became shorter with time. Big Game Repellent® was effective in reducing grazing intensity by cattle, but practical use of repellents for grazing management requires further investigation.