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Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management Abstract - Forage & Grazinglands

Spatial and Temporal Grazing Patterns on Intensive-early Stocked and Season-long Stocked Pastures

 

This article in CFTM

  1. Vol. 3 No. 1
     
    Received: Feb 15, 2016
    Accepted: Mar 18, 2017
    Published: May 19, 2017


    * Corresponding author(s): owensby@ksu.edu
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doi:10.2134/cftm2016.0016
  1. Brent L. Brocka,
  2. Lynnette Evansb and
  3. Clenton E. Owensby *c
  1. a Holoscene Wildlife Services LLC, 3025 Woodchuck Rd., Bozeman, MT 59715
    b 66321 E. Mexico Pl., Byers, CO 80103
    c Dep. of Agronomy, Kansas State Univ., 3016a Throckmorton Plant Sciences Center, 1712 Claflin Rd., Manhattan, KS 66506-5501
Core Ideas:
  • Temporal grazing patterns influence forage quality.
  • Temporal and spatial grazing patterns aid in grazing system design.
  • Uniformity of grazing distribution is enhanced by increased stocking density.

Abstract

Spatial and temporal patterns of domestic cattle (Bos taurus × Bos indicus) grazing were observed over two consecutive years under two grazing systems, intensive-early stocking (IES) and season-long stocking (SLS), to determine the factors influencing the observed patterns. Temporal grazing patterns differed between the two grazing treatments. Area grazed and forage height reduction remained relatively stable and consistently higher on IES pastures than on SLS pastures until midseason. In contrast, SLS pastures exhibited steady increases in area grazed and forage height reduction throughout the grazing season and was comparable to IES by the end of the grazing season. Percent forage height reduction was significantly higher on IES pastures than on SLS pastures in both years until midseason when the IES steers were removed. There was no difference between the amounts of forage height reduction at the end of grazing trials in SLS pastures compared with overall IES means. Cattle grazed a higher percentage of pasture area on IES pastures than SLS in both years. Grazing intensity did not differ between treatments but was significantly different between years. The IES pastures were more uniformly grazed than SLS pastures during the period when both treatments were present, but there was no difference when overall pasture means were compared. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman) tillers were grazed more frequently under IES than under SLS. The results indicate that temporal grazing patterns should be considered when evaluating the performance and design of grazing systems since spatial patterns alone may not reveal periods when forage quality or plant physiology may be adversely or positively affected.

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