Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 30, 2011
Publication Date: December 30, 2012
Citation: Derner, J.D., Augustine, D.J., Milchunas, D. 2012. Differential relationships of livestock production and seasonal precipitation for three grazing intensities in shortgrass steppe. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts No. 0080. Technical Abstract: Long-term experiments have substantial utility for determining relationships of livestock weight gains to seasonal precipitation which can provide valuable understanding pertinent to the potential consequences of climate variability. A long-term (1939-2008, 70 years) data record of yearling Hereford heifer weights grazing at light (20%), moderate (40%) and heavy (60%) grazing intensities from pastures grazed May-October is available from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Central Plains Experimental Range, in north-central Colorado for the shortgrass steppe. Beef production (kg/ha) data was regressed against: 1) warm-season precipitation (May-September), 2) cool-season precipitation (October-April), 3) previous year’s precipitation (October – September 1 of prior year), and 4) previous two year’s precipitation. Warm-season precipitation and previous two year’s precipitation influenced beef production for light grazing, previous year’s precipitation was the main influence on beef production with moderate grazing, and cool-season precipitation and previous year’s precipitation influenced beef production with heavy grazing. Implications for land managers include incorporation of these relationships between seasonal precipitation and livestock gains into modeling efforts that would enhance strategic planning and reduce risk in highly variable environments to improve sustainability of livestock production systems.