Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 41, Number 6 (November 1988) by Authors
Effects of dormant-season herbage removal on Flint Hills rangelandAuen, L. M.; Owensby, C. E. (Society for Range Management, 1988-11-01)Stocking rate effects on intensive-early stocked Kansas Flint Hills range were studied from 1982 through 1987. Rates were 2X, 2.5X, and 3X normal season-long stocking rates for 200-225 kg steers. Study design was a randomized complete block with 2 replicates. Grass and forb standing crop (kg/ha) were estimated at the time of livestock removal (mid July) and again in early October. Plant basal cover and composition were taken in early June the year prior to the study and annually thereafter. Overall growing season precipitation during the study period was below normal, with late-summer precipitation much below normal in the second and third years of the study. Grass standing crop (GSC) in mid July decreased with increased stocking rate, but by early October GSC was similar under the 2.5X and 3X stocking rates, but continued to be lower than that under the 2X rate. There was no consistent response in mid July forb standing crop (FSC) with respect to stocking rate. In early October, FSC was either not affected by stocking rate (1983, 1986, and 1987) or was greater under the highest stocking rate (1982, 1984, and 1985). The major changes in botanical composition and basal cover were a reduction in Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans Nash) and an increase in Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) as stocking rate increased. Botanical composition of big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman) increased under the 2X rate but did not change under the higher rates. Individual steer gains were similar under the different stocking rates, but livestock breed appeared to affect magnitude of the gain. Since individual gains did not differ, gains per ha were substantially increased by the higher stocking rates.