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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376910

Research Project: Science and Technologies for the Sustainable Management of Western Rangeland Systems

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Influence of monsoon rainfall events on movement patterns of Angus crossbred vs. Raramuri Criollo cattle on desert rangeland

item NYAMURYEKUNG'E, SHELEMIA - New Mexico State University
item CIBILS, ANDRES - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item Gonzalez, Alfredo
item MCINTOSH, MATTHEW - New Mexico State University
item Spiegal, Sheri
item DUNI, DANIELLE - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2020
Publication Date: 7/19/2020
Citation: Nyamuryekung'e, S., Cibils, A., Estell, R.E., Gonzalez, A.L., McIntosh, M., Spiegal, S.A., Duni, D. 2020. Influence of monsoon rainfall events on movement patterns of Angus crossbred vs. Raramuri Criollo cattle on desert rangeland. Journal of Animal Science Supplement. 98, Suppl. S3.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Chihuahuan Desert averages 247 mm of precipitation annually, 53% of which occurs between July and September. Our objective was to examine movement, activity, pasture use, and watering patterns of Angus x Hereford (AH) and Raramuri Criollo (RC) cows on days with precipitation events (PE, = 1.3 mm rain recorded) vs. days with no precipitation (NP) at the Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico during summer of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Breeds grazed two adjacent pastures (12A = 1190 ha; 12C = 1165 ha) separately in a crossover design for 4 weeks each year. Seven to nine randomly selected cows per breed were collared with Lotek 3300-LR GPS set to log position every 10 min. An average of 7.6 PE occurred during the 4-week trials each year. On PE days, cows traveled farther (PE = 6.95 vs. NP = 6.43 km, P < 0.01), spent more time grazing (PE = 9.07 vs. NP = 8.76 h/day, P = 0.07) and less time resting (PE = 13.90 vs. NP = 14.38 h/day, P = 0.01), and traveled similar distances from watering points (PE = 0.84 vs. NP = 0.80 km, P = 0.41) compared to NP days. On PE days, cows spent less time within 200 m (PE = 1.32 vs. NP = 2.95 h, P < 0.01) and 100 m (PE = 0.79 vs. NP = 1.90 h, P < 0.01) of drinkers regardless of breed. We detected no rainfall x breed interaction (P > 0.05). Overall, RC cows traveled farther, at higher velocities, spent more time grazing, less time resting, and explored areas with greater radius than AH counterparts (P < 0.05). Precipitation appeared to relax environmental constraints on activity of both breeds, likely due to availability of ephemeral watering sources and a transient drop in temperature.