A CONSISTENT HOOF IMPACT SIMULATOR
- Mark J. Walker *a,
- Raquel Kutschb,
- W. W. Millera,
- Al Cirellic and
- Susan Donaldsond
- a Dep. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557 USA
b Hydrologic Sciences Program, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557 USA
c Dep. of Animal Biotechnology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557 USA
d University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Reno, NV 89520 USA
Studies of the effects of grazing intensity on rangeland vegetation, soil, and water have used mechanical devices to simulate animal trampling. Such studies are often performed at plot scale to allow adequate replication and avoid variability that confounds studies performed at large uncontrolled scales. However, previously applied hoof impact simulators have not been capable of applying reproducible impulse forces on soil. To be useful, simulators must exert a repeatable force, and meet the physical criteria of being lightweight and easily moved between plots. We designed, constructed, and tested a mechanical trampling device that simulated impulse forces from animal hoof impacts with accuracy and precision. Over 3000 individual impacts on soil plots were used to test the device. Hoof impressions on freshly raked loam soil compared well with those from a shod horse. Although tested on plots and in the field with a shod horse hoof replica, it could be easily altered to simulate other animals.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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