Submitted to: Journal of Range Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 6, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: As Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts begin to expire in 1995, environmentally fragile areas may be used as pasture or hayland. Proper management systems will be needed to maintain these areas in a productive, environmentally sound condition. Grazing systems which were evaluated in this study included twice-over rotational grazing (cattle are allowed to graze in a given pasture twice during the grazing season) and season-long grazing. Additional experimental treatments included haying and burning of former CRP areas. In some regions of the United States, rangelands are burned to help promote the regrowth of vegetation. The use of the CRP site for grazing or haying resulted in a significant increase in sediment production compared to leaving the area in an undisturbed CRP condition. Following an initial stabilization period, sediment production on the burned area was similar to the grazing and haying treatments. This study shows that it is critically important to maintain an adequate surface cover on former CRP lands.
Technical Abstract: Grazing and haying effects on sediment production from a CRP site near Streeter, North Dakota were determined. Treatments included undisturbed CRP (UN), twice-over rotational grazing (TO), season-long grazing (SL), haying (HA) and burning (BU). A rainfall simulator was used to measure sediment production from both large plots (3.0 x 10.7 m) and small plots (0.74 x 0.74 m) on which surface cover had been removed. Following an initial stabilization period, no significant difference in sediment production was found between the SL and BU treatments. The use of the CRP site for grazing or haying resulted in a significant increase in sediment production compared to leaving the area in an undisturbed CRP condition. The TO, SL and HA treatments produced similar amounts of sediment. If adequate canopy and soil surface cover is maintained, use of this CRP site for grazing or haying would not be expected to result in excessive sediment production. Sediment production per unit area on the small plots, with canopy and surface cover removed, was approximately an order of magnitude greater than the large plots. Thus, it is critically important to maintain adequate cover on former CRP lands.