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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OPTIMIZING FORAGE-BASED COW-CALF OPERATIONS TO IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY OF BEEF CATTLE AGRICULTURE AND WATER QUALITY PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Sustainable management of nutrients in foraged-based pasture soils: Effect on animal congregation sites

Author
item Sigua, Gilbert

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Research Technical Update
Publication Acceptance Date: May 13, 2008
Publication Date: June 16, 2008
Citation: Sigua, G.C. 2008. Sustainable management of nutrients in foraged-based pasture soils: Effect on animal congregation sites. In: Annual Report S-1032: Improving the Sustainability of Livestock and Poultry Production in the United States. USDA-CSREES National Facilitation Project Livestock and Poultry. p. 4.

Technical Abstract: Grazing animals have a dominant effect on the movement and utilization of nutrients through the soil and plant system, and thus on the fertility of pasture soils. Grazing can accelerate and alter the timing of nutrient transfers, and increase the amount of nutrients cycled from plant to soil. Long periods, position of shade, and water resources for grazing cattle can influence the spatial distribution of soil biochemical properties including soil organic carbon, total inorganic nitrogen, and phosphorus. Our reason for conducting this study is to test whether cattle congregation sites typical on most Florida ranches, such as mineral feeders, water troughs, and shade areas are more nutrient-rich and may contribute more nutrients to surface and ground water supply than in other pasture locations under Florida conditions. Early results of the study are suggesting that cattle congregation sites may not be as nutrient-rich as previously thought, therefore may not contribute more nutrients to surface and ground water supply under Florida conditions. If the sites at STARS can be assumed to mimic those of commercial producers, then they probably are not a source of nutrients to pollute surface and ground water supply.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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