Soil Hydrologic Response to Number of Pastures and Stocking Density Under Intensive Rotation Grazing
Keywordssoil water relations
MetadataShow full item record
CitationWarren, S. D., Blackburn, W. H., & Taylor, C. A. (1986). Soil hydrologic response to number of pastures and stocking density under intensive rotation grazing. Journal of Range Management, 39(6), 500-504.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractInfiltration rate and sediment production were measured for 2 years on 3 pastures from an intensive rotational grazing system. The pastures were 32, 24, and 16 ha in size. Stocking rate was held constant but stocking density at any given point in time varied due to pasture size. Stocking densities were 0.68, 0.51, and 0.32 ha/AU, respectively. Within the respective treatments, midgrass interspaces exhibited significantly higher infiltration rates and lower sediment production than shortgrass interspaces. Overall, the pasture grazed at the highest stocking density produced the lowest infiltration rates and the greatest sediment loss. However, there was no consistent trend in hydrologic responses over time and the differences appeared to be the result of random selection of a poorer condition site on 1 or 2 occasions rather than the result of stocking density. Regardless of whether the pasture grazed at the highest stocking density was in similar or poorer hydrologic condition in terms of treatment response, the data do not support the hypothesized beneficial hydrologic advantages of increased stocking density via manipulation of pasture size and numbers. Rest, rather than intensive livestock activity, appears to be the key to soil hydrologic stability. The potential for altering the length of the rest period is greatest where the number of pastures is small. Therefore, very little benefit in terms of soil hydrologic condition should be expected from large increases in the number of pastures within rotational grazing systems.