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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: New Math for Stocking Native Tall-Grass Prairie

Authors
item Phillips, William
item NORTHUP, BRIAN
item Mayeux Jr, Herman
item Daniel, John

Submitted to: The Forage Leader
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 2004
Publication Date: November 15, 2004
Citation: Phillips, W.A., Northup, B.K., Mayeux, H.S., Daniel, J.A. 2004. New math for stocking native tall-grass prairie. The Forage Leader. 9(3):12-13.

Technical Abstract: It is well known that warm season grasses decline in quality during the last half of the summer. In general, two thirds of total summer stocker gains on native grass pastures occur in the first half of the summer grazing season. Providing supplemental protein to stocker calves during the last half of the summer grazing season increases late summer gains, but purchasing supplemental protein increases the amount of capital invested in the grazing enterprise. During the first half of the grazing season, forage quality is high and is able to support good average daily gains. By employing Intensive Early Stocking (IES) grazing management, producers can harvest more of the available forage while it is higher in quality. The IES system uses a stocking rate that is twice the rate used in a season-long grazing system, but the grazing season is cut in half. The IES system has been successfully employed on both native and introduced warm season grasses throughout the Southern Great Plains region. At the USDA-ARS Grazinglands Research Laboratory in El Reno, OK, we looked at stocker performance on tallgrass prairie under three different grazing management strategies over four summer grazing seasons (June through August). Each June, calves were assigned to one of three grazing systems. In two systems, pastures were grazed all season long at a stocking rate of 1.25calves/acre, but calves in one season-long grazing system received 2.5 pounds of 20% protein cubes daily during the last half of the summer. The third grazing system was managed under IES and was grazed at twice the stocking rate as that used in the season-long pastures, but the grazing season was cut in half.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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