Submitted to: New Mexico Livestock Research Briefs and Cattle Growers Short Course
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2005
Publication Date: 4/7/2005
Citation: Estell, R., Anderson, D., Fredrickson, E. 2005. Livestock research on the Jornada Experimental Range. 2005 Cattle Growers' Short Course Proceedings & Livestock Research Briefs, April 7-8, 2005, Alamogordo, New Mexico. p. 100-102. Interpretive Summary: Interpretive summary not required.
Technical Abstract: The role of phytochemistry in diet selection by livestock on arid rangelands is being examined at the Jornada Experimental Range (JER) because shrub encroachment into arid and semiarid rangelands is a serious problem for livestock producers. Palatability of these shrubs is often low due to high concentrations of secondary chemicals. Our previous research has shown that crude extracts of tarbush (Flourensia cernua) applied to alfalfa pellets dramatically decreased intake by lambs. However, little is known about how specific compounds affect herbivory. Only 4 of the 19 terpenes we have examined reduced intake when tested individually (camphor, alpha-pinene, caryophyllene oxide, and camphene). Secondly, we are examining ways to control livestock in large pastures with fewer fences. Directional Virtual Fencing (DVF™) is being tested as a mechanism to contain livestock and improve grazing distribution. This system uses ramped sound and electric shock administered on either side of an animal to keep it within a Virtual Paddock (VP™) using minimum stress. With GPS data obtained from animals, we determined that cattle and sheep bonded to cattle (i.e., a flerd) could be controlled using DVF™. A third study examines grazing behaviors of Mexican criollo cattle. Criollo cattle have coevolved with the arid and semiarid regions of North America for approximately 450 years and may have adaptations to arid environments that may be useful for livestock producers. We imported cattle from the Chinipas region of Chihuahua to the JER and compared distance traveled by these animals to Angus x Hereford cattle in a 3000-acre pasture with good forage conditions. Chinipas cattle traveled 7.9 ± 0.7 miles per day and covered a larger area of the pasture than Angus x Hereford cattle, which traveled 6.0 ± .4 miles. These data support observations that criollo cattle travel further and use steeper slopes than British or Continental breeds.