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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #332017

Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Vegetation selection by Angus crossbred vs. Raramuri Criollo nursing cows grazing Chihuauan Desert rangeland in summer

Author
item Nuamuryeking'e, S - New Mexico State University
item Cibils, Andres - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item Gonzalez, Alfredo

Submitted to: Society for Range Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2016
Publication Date: 1/31/2016
Citation: Nuamuryeking'E, S., Cibils, A., Estell, R.E., Gonzalez, A.L. 2016. Vegetation selection by Angus crossbred vs. Raramuri Criollo nursing cows grazing Chihuauan Desert rangeland in summer [abstract]. 69th Annual meeting of the Society for Range Management. January 31 - February 4, 2016, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: We examined vegetation selection patterns of nursing Angus X Hereford crossbred (AH) and Raramuri Criollo (RC) cows grazing Chihuahuan Desert vegetation during the growing season. Eleven cows of each group grazed separately in two large pastures (1190ha, 1165ha) from mid-July until mid-August 2015 (28 days). GPS coordinates were recorded at 10 min intervals on five cows of each group. Vegetation in the pastures included honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) intermixed with perennial grasses on sandy soils or tobosa (Pleuraphis mutica) and burrograss (Schleropogon brevifolius) in lower areas with clayey soils. GPS data were overlaid on a vegetation map of the pastures in ArcGIS. Mapped vegetation types were: bare ground, burrograss, mesquite, mesquite dunes, other shrubs, Sporobolus spp., and tobosa. Ivlev’s electivity index (E) for each vegetation type was calculated for all collared cows (n=10). A t-test revealed statistical differences in E between groups for all seven vegetation types. Compared to AH cows, RC showed higher preference for bare ground areas presumably dominated by annuals (ERC = 0.34; EAH = -1.00; P<0.01) and burrograss areas (ERC = 0.19; EAH = -0.25; P<0.01), lower preference for mesquite (ERC = 0.03; EAH = 0.13; P = 0.02), mesquite dunes (ERC = -0.08; EAH = 0.02; P<0.01), and tobosa grasslands (ERC = -0.11; EAH = 0.12; P<0.01), and lower avoidance of other shrubs (ERC = -0.26; EAH = -0.70; P= 0.04) and Sporobolus areas (ERC = -0.42; EAH = -0.88; P<0.01). Our preliminary results suggest that RC cows employ foraging strategies during the growing season that differ significantly from AH cows which are commonly used in our region.