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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Burns, Oregon » Range and Meadow Forage Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #213526

Title: FACTORS AND PRACTICES THAT INFLUENCE LIVESTOCK DISTRIBUTION

Author
item Ganskopp, David
item George, Mel
item Bailey, Derek
item Borman, Mike
item Surber, Gene
item Harris, Norm

Submitted to: University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2007
Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Citation: Ganskopp, D.C., George, M., Bailey, D., Borman, M., Surber, G., Harris, N. 2007. Factors and practices that influence livestock distribution. University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Rangeland Management Series, Publication 8217. 20 pp.

Interpretive Summary: Inconsistent livestock distribution in extensive rangeland pastures continues to be a a challenging issue for land and livestock managers. Dispersal patterns of cattle are affected by abiotic factors like topography, distance to water, shade, physical barriers, temperature and weather; and biotic factors like forage quantity, quality, composition, plant secondary compounds, and animal knowledge and experience, This publication describes pasture and animal management practices, evaluated with Global Position System equipment, that can be used to alter livestock distribution and to lure cattle away from environmentally or politically sensitive areas and to encourage use of area that were typically unused. The most successful practices for affecting distribution include: restricting or allowing access to specific water sources, strategic placement of supplemental nutrients when ranges or forages are deficient, herding that is paired with strategic supplement placement, and selection or elimination of animals prone to occupying certain portions of pastures. This report will help ranchers and land managers understand why cattle exhibit specific behaviors and offer suggested management practices to rectify distribution issues.

Technical Abstract: Inconsistent livestock distribution in extensive rangeland pastures continues as a vexing problem for land and livestock managers. Dispersal patterns of cattle are affected by abiotic factors like degree of slope, distance from water, shade, physical barriers, temperature extremes and precipitation; and biotic factors like herbage availability, forage quality, stand composition, plant secondary compounds, and animal, age, experience, and physiologic status. This publication describes pasture and animal management practices, evaluated with Global Position Systems and GIS analyses, that can be employed to alter livestock distribution. These tools can lure cattle away from environmentally or politically sensitive areas and encourage use of areas that were typically ignored. The most successful practices for affecting distribution include: restricting or aiding access to specific water sources, strategic placement of supplemental protein when ranges or forages are deficient, herding paired with strategic supplement placement, and selection or elimination of animals prone to occupying riparian or lowland areas. This report will help ranchers and land managers understand why cattle exhibit specific behaviors and offers tested management practices to rectify distribution issues.