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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: RANGELAND RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT Title: Do Grazing Cattle Seek Nutritionally Superior Portions of Pastures?

Authors
item Ganskopp, David
item Bohnert, David - OREGON STATE UNIV-EOARC

Submitted to: Extension Reports
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2008
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Ganskopp, D.C., Bohnert, D. 2008. Do grazing cattle seek nutritionally superior portions of pastures?. Extension Reports. Range Field Day 2008 Progress Report. Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station, Special Report 1085. Burns, OR. pp. 24-29.

Interpretive Summary: This study evaluated the hypothesis that grazing cattle will most often frequent nutritionally superior portions of large pastures. Forage quantity/quality characteristics were mapped among three pastures and cattle grazing patterns subsequently tracked with GPS collars. Cattle preferred locations with higher than average crude protein and digestibility and areas with lower than average standing crop and neutral detergent fiber. These preferences likely explain adherence of cattle to historic grazing patterns and seasonal spatial movements of cattle in large pastures. Management practices that can affect desirable changes in forage quality, like mowing, burning, or prescribed grazing, can likely be used to attract stock to historically unused locales.

Technical Abstract: This study evaluated the hypothesis that grazing cattle will most often frequent nutritionally superior portions of large pastures. Forage quantity/quality characteristics were mapped among three pastures and cattle grazing patterns subsequently tracked with GPS collars. Cattle preferred locations with higher than average crude protein and digestibility and areas with lower than average standing crop and neutral detergent fiber. These preferences likely explain adherence of cattle to historic grazing patterns and seasonal spatial movements of cattle in large pastures. Management practices that can affect desirable changes in forage quality, like mowing, burning, or prescribed grazing, can likely be used to attract stock to historically unused locales.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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