Grazing date and frequency effects on prairie sandreed and sand bluestem
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CitationReece, P. E., Brummer, J. E., Engel, R. K., Northup, B. K., & Nichols, J. T. (1996). Grazing date and frequency effects on prairie sandreed and sand bluestem. Journal of Range Management, 49(2), 112-116.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractA 5 year study was conducted during 1988-1992 to quantify the effects of grazing date and frequency on total organic reserves of prairie sandreed [Calamovilfa longifolia (Hook.) Scribn.] and sand bluestem (Andropogon hallii Hack.). Treatments consisted of mid-month grazing periods in (1) June, (2) July, (3) August, (4) October, (5) June and July, (6) June and August, (7) July and August, or (8) June, July, and August. Seasonal stocking rates were equal among treatments and divided equally over multiple grazing periods. Grazing treatments were applied to the same pastures during 4 consecutive years with yearling cattle and 4-7 day grazing periods. Mean tiller weight of etiolated initial-spring growth was used to estimate total organic reserves in the fifth year. Dormant season grazing in October was not different from 4 years of rest for either species. Total organic reserves in prairie sandreed decreased when paddocks were grazed in June or July regardless of the number of grazing periods per treatment. Reserves in sand bluestem were maintained by grazing once in June or August. Rotationally grazing pastures 2 or more times during June-August is least likely to maintain or increase total organic reserves in either species. Multiple grazing periods initiated in June reduced reserves by about 38% in prairie sandreed and 30% in sand bluestem. When stocking rates are similar to this study, deferment periods should be longer than 60 days after grazing in June to avoid measurable reductions in total organic reserves in both species. Periodic deferment of grazing until mid-August or later will be required to maintain simultaneously high levels of reserves in prairie sandreed and sand bluestem.
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Grazing systems, stocking rates, and cattle behavior in southeastern WyomingHepworth, K. W.; Test, P. S.; Hart, R. H.; Waggoner, J. W.; Smith, M. A. (Society for Range Management, 1991-05-01)Grazing systems and stocking rates are used to influence livestock grazing behavior with the intent of improving livestock and vegetation performance. In 1982, a study was initiated to determine effects of continuous, rotationally deferred, and short-duration rotation grazing and moderate and heavy stocking rates on steer gains, range vegetation, and distance traveled by and activity patterns of steers. Steers were observed from dawn to dark on 12 dates during 1983, 1984, and 1985, and activity recorded every 15 minutes. Eight steers per treatment (system X stocking rate combination) per date were observed in 1983 and 1984, and 10 per treatment in 1985. In 1984 and 1985, map locations of all steers were recorded at the same times as activity, and distance traveled summed from distances between successive map locations. In 1984, activity of 3 steers per treatment was electronically monitored during darkness. Steers grazed approximately 8.6 hr per day during daylight and 1.6 hr during darkness. Steers grazed an average of 8.9 hr/day during daylight under moderate vs 8.1 hr under heavy stocking, but stocking rate interacted with date in 1984 and grazing system in 1985. Steers traveled farther under continuous than under short-duration rotation grazing at both stocking rates in 1984, but only at the high stocking rate in 1985. Steers had to travel farther to water in the continuous pastures, and may have had to cover a greater area in an effort to select a more desirable diet, particularly under heavy stocking. These differences were not reflected in differences in gain among stocking rates or grazing systems.
Grazing systems, pasture size, and cattle grazing behavior, distribution and gainsHart, R. H.; Bissio, J.; Samuel, M. J.; Waggoner, J. W. (Society for Range Management, 1993-01-01)Reduced pasture size and distance to water may be responsible for the alleged benefits of intensive time-controlled rotation grazing systems. We compared cattle gains, activity, distance traveled, and forage utilization on a time-controlled rotation system with eight 24-ha pastures, on two 24-ha pastures grazed continuously (season-long), and on a 207-ha pasture grazed continuously, all stocked at the same rate. Utilization on the 207-ha pasture, but not on the 24-ha pastures, declined with distance from water. At distances greater than 3 km from water in the 207-ha pasture, utilization was significantly less than on adjacent 24-ha pastures, at distances of 1.0 to 1.6 km from water. Cows on the 207-ha pasture travelled farther (6.1 km/day) than cows on the 24-ha rotation pastures (4.2 km/day), which traveled farther than cows on the 24-ha continuously grazed pastures (3.2 km/day). Grazing system, range site, slope, and weather had minimal effects on cow activity patterns. Gains of cows and calves were less on the 207-ha pasture (0.24 and 0.77 kg/day, respectively) than on the 24-ha rotation pastures or 24-ha continuously grazed pastures (0.42 and 0.89 kg/da, respectively), with no differences between the latter. Calculated "hoof action" on the rotation pastures was less than that demonstrated to increase seed burial and seedling emergence. Intensive rotation grazing systems are unlikely to benefit animal performance unless they reduce pasture size and distance to water below previous levels, decreasing travel distance and increasing uniformity of grazing.