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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A comparison of grazing behavior between desert adapted Mexican Criollo cattle and temperate british breeds using two diverse landscapes in New Mexico and Chihuahua.

Authors
item Roacho-Estrada, J. Octavio - UNIV. AUTO DE CHIHUAHUA
item Frederickson, Eddie
item Bezanilla-Enriquez, Gerardo A. - UNIV. AUTO DE CHIHUAHUA
item Peinetti, Hector
item Gonzalez, Alfredo
item Rios, Jose - UNIV. AUTO DE CHIHUAHUA

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 13, 2007
Publication Date: January 26, 2008
Citation: Roacho-Estrada, J., Fredrickson, E.L., Bezanilla-Enriquez, G., Peinetti, H.R., Gonzalez, A.L., Rios, J. 2008. A comparison of grazing behavior between desert adapted Mexican Criollo cattle and temperate british breeds using two diverse landscapes in New Mexico and Chihuahua [abstract]. Society for Range Management, Building Bridges: Grasslands to Rangelands, January 26-31, 2008, Louisville, Kentucky. p. 2379. 2008 CDROM.

Technical Abstract: This study was designed to test how grazing behaviors differ between desert adapted Mexican criollo cattle and temperate British beef breeds, to learn how each breed interacts with environments common to the southwestern US and northwestern Mexico. Additionally, criollo cattle may be a better breed for regional beef production systems less reliant on fossil fuels for feed supplements and other production inputs. Two sites were used: the Jornada Experimental Range (JER) in south-central New Mexico and Rancho Experimental Teseachi (RET) in central Chihuahua. The JER pasture is 2,425 ha of undulating desert grasslands receiving an average of 245 mm precipitation. Elevation of the 2,552 ha RET pasture varies from 1,900 to 2,800 m with an average annual precipitation of 580 mm. Vegetation ranges from Pinyon-Juniper-Bouteloua on the lower slopes to Pine-Oak-Muhlenbergia. Four replicates were conducted during the spring and fall at each location. In each replicate, six different mature cows per breed were were fitted with Lotek GPS collars, equipped with activity sensors, and allowed to graze each pasture with position acquired at 5-minute intervals. British cattle grazed longer per day than criollo cattle: 9.0 versus 7.3 hours at JER (P = 0.003) and 10.0 versus 9.0 hours at RET (P = 0.006) for British versus criollo cows, respectively. British cattle also traveled less each day: 8.6 versus 10.4 km /d at JER (P = 0.03) and 4.9 versus 5.6 km/d at RET (P = 0.08) for British versus criollo breeds, respectively. In addition, British breeds remained closer to water and had significantly smaller home ranges. Larger British breeds grazed more hours and used a smaller proportion of the environment than Mexican criollo cattle. Forage conditions were better than average for each location; when poorer, we hypothesize differences between breeds will be greater.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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