Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2009
Publication Date: 6/24/2009
Citation: Sanderson, M.A., Feldmann, C., Schmidt, J.P., Herrmann, A., Taube, F. 2009. Spatial distribution of livestock concentration areas and soil nutrients in pastures. American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings. 2009 CDROM. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: Livestock frequently congregate at feeders, shades, or other sites on pastures, which severely disturbs soil and vegetation leading to erosion and nutrient runoff. Our objective was to determine the extent and spatial distribution of soil nutrients in livestock concentration areas on pastures and quantify the relationships among the soil nutrient gradients, vegetation, and surface runoff. We located and measured all concentration areas on five farms (four grazing dairies and a beef farm) during 2 yr. Selected areas were sampled to 0-2 and 0-6 inch depths to determine soil nutrient levels compared with unaffected areas of the pasture. On one farm we installed runoff plots at three landscape positions on two concentration areas to examine nutrient losses in surface water runoff from simulated rainfall. Concentration areas associated with paddock gates were the largest in number, whereas feed areas (e.g., hay and mineral feeders, sacrifice paddocks) accounted for the most pasture area affected. Soil nutrient levels were usually higher in concentration areas than unaffected areas of the pasture; however, there were some important exceptions where concentration areas had lower soil nutrient levels than unaffected parts of the pastures.