Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2007
Publication Date: 2/10/2007
Citation: Sheehy, C., Hale, M., Sheehy, D., Ganskopp, D.C., Clark, P., Johnson, D. 2007. Predicting habitat suitability for two breeds of cattle (English and Spanish) in northeastern oregon prairie ecosystems [abstract]. Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts. Paper No. 399.
Technical Abstract: Eastern Oregon cattle distribution was studied with global positioning (GPS) collars for 2 years on the Zumwalt prairie in the spring and fall and Hells Canyon during the winter to determine distribution and habitat selection differences between Spanish bred (Corriente X Longhorn) and English bred cattle (Angus X Hereford). The study observed two small herds of breed-differentiated cattle rotating between separate but similar pastures during the spring and fall. In the winter, both breeds were allowed to intermingle in one study area on the Imnaha River in Hell’s Canyon. Each trial ran for two weeks and in the spring/fall trials the breed specific herds rotated from a randomly selected initial pasture to its counterpart at the end of the first week. GPS position data was obtained every 30 seconds for randomly selected cattle within each herd unit. Additional data layers including visual observation of activity, velocity, air temperature, distance to water, distance to supplement, landscape aspect, landscape slope, and range site classification have been collected for every GPS position. The data set has been further sub-divided for separate statistical analyses based on whether the animals was active, not active, or walking. In addition, diet information derived from near-infrared spectroscopy and micro-histological procedures performed on fecal samples collected from each rotation and trial have collected to determine diet selection and nutrient content. The six range site classifications were determined by plant species composition, slope, aspect, and soil type. It was determined the Spanish and English bred cattle have different distribution and habitat selection respectively. Through the study the breeds selected spatially separate areas within the pasture independent of the other breed having been present, location, or time of year. There was also a significant difference indicating Spanish cattle preferred steeper range sites. Spanish cattle remain in a tighter herd, use more area in a pasture, and are less influenced by natural barriers, Further research would benefit from procedures that control prior experinces of the animals and increased number of herd units to increase the level of inference.