|Hart, Richard - USDA-ARS (RETIRED)|
Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 2003
Publication Date: January 5, 2003
Citation: Derner, J.D., Hart, R. 2003. Grazing four-wing saltbush (atriplex canescens): what is the proper stocking rate?. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. No. 76. Technical Abstract: Four-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens) may provide nutritious forage for livestock during early spring and late fall, before and after the summer grazing season. Costs of cattle production could be reduced by incorporating grazing of four-wing saltbush, but proper stocking rates for achieving desirable animal gains must be determined. This four-year study evaluated animal performance at light and moderate stocking rates on pastures dominated by four-wing saltbush at the Central Plains Experimental Range near Nunn, Colorado. Hereford replacement heifers grazed two 16-ha pastures, containing dense uniform stands of four-wing saltbush, from November to mid-January at light (21.9-26.2 heifer days ha-1) and moderate (35.0-42.0 heifer days ha-1) stocking rates, and from April to mid-May at light (12.5-14.0 heifer days ha-1) and moderate (20.0-22.0 heifer days ha-1) stocking rates. Gain per head per day of heifers over the four-year study period was 58% greater at light than at moderate stocking rates during late fall, and 115% greater at light than at moderate stocking rates during early spring. These findings suggest that light stocking rates should be recommended for animals grazing saltbush during early spring and late fall in the shortgrass steppe.