Comparing techniques for determining steer diets in northern Chihuahuan Desert
MetadataShow full item record
CitationMofareh, M. M., Beck, R. F., & Schneberger, A. G. (1997). Comparing techniques for determining steer diets in northern Chihuahuan Desert. Journal of Range Management, 50(1), 27-32.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractDiets determined by bite count and microhistological analysis of esophageal extrusa and feces were compared for steers grazing on grass-shrublands in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The study was conducted on the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The purpose was to determine the similarity of 3 dietary techniques on arid, heterogeneous rangeland. It was proposed that the number of bites of each species eaten was directly proportional to the weight eaten as determined by the 2 microhistological techniques. Samples of diets were collected in 4 seasons from 2 steers grazing in a continuous yearlong pasture and in season-long rotation pastures. The 3 dietary techniques did not give similar (P<0.10) estimates of the diets eaten by the steers. Mean similarity indices were highest (77%) comparing diets from analysis of esophageal and fecal material. Lowest mean similarity indices (57%) were from comparing diets from bite count and fecal analysis. Much of the discrepancy between techniques was because of different size plants being eaten and heterogeneity of plant distribution. An importance ranking of dietary species using the 3 techniques showed that the top 3 species comprised over 68% of the total diets. Any of the 3 techniques can be used to determine the common species in the diets which may be all that is necessary for some management and analysis needs.