Cattle Diet and Daily Gains on a Mountain Riparian Meadow in Northeastern Oregon
Starkey Experimental Range
Mountain Riparian Meadow
diet botanical composition
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CitationHolechek, J. L., Vavra, M., & Skovlin, J. (1982). Cattle diet and daily gains on a mountain riparian meadow in northeastern Oregon. Journal of Range Management, 35(6), 745-747.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractCattle weight gains, diet botanical composition, and diet quality on a riparian meadow range in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon were evaluated in the late summer and fall in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Pregnant yearling heifers were used to evaluate livestock performance. Esophageally fistulated cows were used to evaluate diet botanical composition and diet quality. Cattle diets showed little difference in botanical composition between periods or years. Grasses comprised an average of 80% of the diet during the 3 year period. Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) was the most important grass in cattle diets and had the highest percent cover on the study pastures. Cattle diet quality showed little change within or between years. Crude protein concentrations appeared adequate for cattle to gain .5 kg per day. However, estimated digestible energy concentrations averaged only 80% of that recommended by the NRC. Daily gains were erratic between and within years averaging .41 kg for the 3 years. Average daily gains on the meadow were better than or equal to those reported in other studies for upland and upland and meadow pastures at the Starkey Range for the same periods. Separate fencing and deferred grazing of mountain meadows could improve cattle performance and aid ranchers in gathering cattle at the end of the grazing season. In addition deferred grazing should result in pasture improvement and provide better habitat for nesting birds. The primary disadvantage of deferred use of meadows would be the cost of fencing.