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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL ORGANIC MATTER AND NUTRIENT CYCLING TO SUSTAIN AGRICULTURE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN USA Title: Prescribed grazing on pasturelands

Authors
item Sollenberger, Lynn -
item Agouridis, Carmen -
item Vanzant, Eric -
item Franzluebbers, Alan
item Owens, Lloyd

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Principles of grazing management center round the temporal and spatial distribution of various kinds and number of livestock. Within the context of this chapter, management of grazing or browsing will be characterized in terms of intensity, method, and season (timing), and as a function of the type and class of livestock and their distribution on the landscape. The goal of this literature synthesis was to determine if the prescribed practices do, in fact, meet the purposes and criteria. Therefore, the assessment is organized around the five purposes (as main headings) or desired outcomes from imposing prescribed grazing “management strategies”. Management strategies include grazing intensity, stocking method, timing of grazing (i.e., season of grazing and deferment from grazing), type and class of livestock, and livestock distribution on the landscape. Grazing intensity is the most important prescribed grazing strategy on pastureland ecosystems, and conservation plans should prioritize implementation of the proper grazing intensity. Stocking method is useful for fine tuning the overall production system once an appropriate grazing intensity is imposed. Season of grazing affects forage ground cover which in turn influences water infiltration, runoff into surface water bodies, and availability of wildlife habitat, avian nesting sites, and food supply for wildlife and livestock. The literature describing effects of type and class of livestock was limited primarily to studies of the impact of mixed-species grazing on plant communities. Most of the literature on distribution of livestock in the landscape has assessed the effects of shade, water, and fence placement on components of the pastureland ecosystem. Although societal interest and emphasis on soil, water, and wildlife is increasing, there is a paucity of literature addressing these ecosystem components. This leads to a recommendation that future grazing studies on pastureland be more comprehensive in scope, including soil, water, and wildlife responses in addition to plant and livestock measures, and be carried out over longer time periods to allow the full impact of prescribed grazing to be quantified.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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