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ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Range Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383759

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

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Feeding habits of Brangus and Raramuri Criollo cows grazing Chihuahuan Desert rangeland

Author
item DUNI, M. - New Mexico State University
item CIBILS, A. - New Mexico State University
item Estell, Richard - Rick
item COX, A. - New Mexico State University
item MCINTOSH, M. - New Mexico State University
item Spiegal, Sheri

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2021
Publication Date: 2/15/2021
Citation: Duni, M.D., Cibils, A.F., Estell, R.E., Cox, A., McIntosh, M.M., Spiegal, S.A. 2021. Feeding habits of Brangus and Raramuri Criollo cows grazing Chihuahuan Desert rangeland {abstract}. Society for Range Management Meeting, February 15-17, 2021, virtual. 119.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Heritage cattle breeds may help improve sustainability of ranching in the arid Southwest. Foraging behavior of Raramuri Criollo (RC, heritage breed) and Brangus (BR) cows was observed to determine whether breeds differ in the amount of browse included in their diets. Cattle were monitored by a single observer who scan sampled groups of 3 to 16 animals at 30 second intervals for 30 minutes during morning and afternoon foraging bouts to determine frequency of grazing vs. browsing. To the best of the observer’s ability cattle were undisturbed while monitoring. Observations were conducted on 29 or 23 days in spring and summer, respectively. A total of 5,824 (3,521 RC, 2,303 BR) and 7,120 (3,429 RC, 3,691 BR) in spring and summer, respectively, were summarized and analyzed. Analysis of Variance using PROC GLM in SAS 9.4 to determine the effect of breed and season on frequency of browsing and grazing of cattle in this study. LS means were compared using the Tukey-Kramer test. We found a significant breed-by-season interaction for browsing (P< 0.01) and grazing (P< 0.01) frequency, therefore breed differences in feeding habits depended on the season considered. In spring, RC cows were observed browsing more often (64.4 %; P = 0.08) and grazing less often (35.6%; P = 0.08) than BR cows (browsing: 29.7%; grazing: 70.3%). In summer, no differences between breeds were observed (P > 0.10). RC were observed browsing more often (P=0.02) and grazing less often (P= 0.02) in spring than in summer whereas BR showed no statistically detectable seasonal differences in grazing and browsing frequency (P > 0.1). Our results, while preliminary, suggest that relative to BR, heritage cows grazing Chihuahuan Desert rangeland include more browse in their diets during spring and exhibit higher seasonal plasticity of feeding habits.