• Effect of Grazing Prairie Dog—Colonized Rangeland on Cattle Nutrition and Performance: A Progress Report

      Olson, Kenneth C.; Schauer, Christopher; Engel, Chanda; Kincheloe, Janna J.; Brennan, Jameson R.; Hauptman, Ben L. (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • One objective of the ongoing Renewal on Standing Rock Reservation project is to evaluate the response of grazing steers to the level of prairie dog colonization on Northern Mixed Grass Prairie. • We fenced four pastures to create an increasing gradient of a proportion of the pasture area colonized by prairie dogs. Pastures are stocked with yearling steers during each growing season. • Comparing steer performance, Global Positioning System (GPS) locations of grazing, diet samples, and ingestive behavior at each proportion of the prairie dog colony per pasture allows prediction of the optimal proportion of colonization, which enables selection of the most balanced diet for cattle to meet performance goals. • Additionally, it will allow recommendation of management options for any given level of prairie dog colonization to optimize cattle nutrient intake.
    • Effects of Short-Term Cattle Exclusion on Plant Community Composition: Prairie Dog and Ecological Site Influences

      Field, Aaron; Sedivec, Kevin; Hendrickson, John; Johnson, Patricia; Geaumont, Benjamin; Xu, Lan; Gates, Roger; Limb, Ryan (Society for Range Management, 2016-12-01)
      On the Ground • Maintaining cattle and prairie dogs on rangelands is important ecologically, economically, and culturally. However, competition between these species, both actual and perceived, has led to conflict. • We explored the effects of short-term (2-year) cattle exclusion on plant communities both on and off prairie dog towns and among three common ecological sites. • Plant communities were different between on-town and off-town plots and among ecological sites but were similar between cattle-excluded and nonexcluded plots. • Plant community composition did not differ between rangeland targeted for moderate forage utilization and that in which cattle had been excluded for 2 years.