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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #305079

Title: Calculating foraging area using gloal navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology

item Anderson, Dean
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item Schrader, Theodore - Scott

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/21/2014
Publication Date: 12/1/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Anderson, D.M., Estell, R.E., Schrader, T.S. 2014. Calculating foraging area using gloal navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology. Rangelands. 36(6):31-35.

Interpretive Summary: Calculating a proper stocking rate, especially for landscapes composed of a heterogeneous mixture of plant life forms, can be quite challenging especially because of the dynamic nature of the spatio-temporal use patterns brought about by various animal behaviors. This paper demonstrates how global navigation satellite system (GNSS) data obtained from instrumented free-ranging cattle can be used to adjust stocking rate calculations. As animal tracking becomes more commonplace in both the research as well as the producer community, especially when virtual fencing becomes a commercial reality, it will be relatively easy to implement adaptive management in the calculation of stocking rates for animal dominated landscapes.

Technical Abstract: Adjusting stocking rate to changing forage conditions is a critical part of pro-active range management. In general stocking rate approaches tend to assume more optimal landscape use patterns than will actually occur. Today we can monitor spatio-temporal landscape use on a 24/7 basis using animals instrumented with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) devices. Sequential 1 sec fixes taken from two cows in two different herds in 2009 and 2011 within a 433-ha arid rangeland paddock provides an example of how GNSS data categorized into stationary, foraging and walking behaviors can be used to calculate a more accurate SR.