Adaptive Grazing Management Experiment
The overarching goal of this study is to examine how science can be conducted in a real-world manner (i.e., at ranch-level scales with manager involvement) to evaluate the effectiveness of adaptive grazing management for both production and conservation goals. In particular, we seek to examine how grazing management can be implemented in a manner that responds to current and changing rangeland conditions, incorporates active learning, and makes decisions based on quantitative, repeatable measurements collected at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
To this end, ARS scientists and university collaborators have developed an adaptive grazing management experiment being implemented at the Central Plains Experimental Range in northeastern Colorado. A Stakeholder Group of 10 persons was selected to represent ranchers, public land managers, conservation organizations and nongovernmental organizations. This Stakeholder Group met in September of 2012 and January and September of 2013 to 1) choose and prioritize outcomes desired from this experiment, 2) determine criteria and/or triggers for movement of livestock among pastures in an adaptive manner, and 3) select appropriate monitoring data requirements needed for feedback to determine if management is achieving desired outcomes.
Pasture Monitoring Protocols
CPER AGM Maps
Pasture Monitoring Results
|Precipitation and Soil Moisture||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Vegetation Structure (VOR)||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Vegetation Canopy Cover||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Densities of Key Plant Species||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Peak Plant Biomass||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Residual Plant Biomass||2013||2014||2015||2016|
|Cattle weight gains ADG||2014||2015||2016|
|Fecal Crude Protein||2014||2015||2016|
|Fecal Digestible Organic Matter||2014||2015||2016|