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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #246323

Title: How does targeted grazing with small ruminants influence subsequent patch use by mule deer and cattle?

Author
item Utsumi, Santiago - New Mexico State University
item Cibils, Andres - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item Boren, Jon - New Mexico Extension Service
item Vanleeuwen, Dawn - New Mexico State University
item Cox, S - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Wildland Shrub Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2008
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Targeted grazing with small ruminants has been suggested as a means to control one-seed juniper encroachment (Juniperus monosperma Englem. Sarg) and enhance habitat for livestock and wildlife. We determined the short term influence of a localized targeted grazing treatment with goats and sheep conducted during the summer of 2006 on the utilization of resulting vegetation patches by cattle and mule deer during the winter, spring, summer and fall following targeted grazing. Automated digital cameras with infrared motion sensors were used to monitor presence of mule deer and cattle on patches. Targeted grazing treatments created single large (20 x 30 m) or groups of six small (10 x 10 m) patches. Targeted grazing resulted in severe use of juniper saplings and green up of herbaceous forage which affected subsequent patch selection by mule deer and cattle. The presence and number of cattle in a given patch within the treated area reduced the probability of that patch being grazed by mule deer (P < 0.01). Cattle selected large patches which mule deer avoided (P < 0.03) whereas deer selected small aggregated patches that cattle avoided (P < 0.01). Our results suggest that targeted grazing with small ruminants could be strategically applied both to specifically improve habitat for either deer or cattle (or both) while controlling invasion of undesirable woody plants.