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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Characterization of Grazing Patterns in Cool-Season Annual and Warm-Season Perennial Grass Pastures

Authors
item AIKEN, GLEN
item West, M - AUBURN UNIV
item Bransby, D - AUBURN UNIV

Submitted to: Grassland International Congress Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Grazing intensity has a major influence on both pasture sustainability and livestock performance. Light stocking rates will often result in pattern grazing, with pastures containing a mixture of over- and under-grazed areas. Compressed pasture heights were measured for rye-ryegrass pastures to characterize stocking rate (2.5, 3.7, and 4.9 steers/ha) effects on grazing patterns. Grazing patterns were distinct for each stocking rate, but the patterns increased in severity as stocking rate decreased. In another study, grazing indices were calculated for bermudagrass to describe pasture utilization over time for stocking rates of 3.0, 5.9, and 8.9 steers/ha. Bermudagrass was not pattern grazed, but grazing indices showed that the extent pastures were grazed was not consistent over time, suggesting that livestock performance would also show temporal fluctuation.

Technical Abstract: Pastures are often either under- or over-grazed, which can affect both pasture sustainability and livestock performance. Disk meter heights were measured for rye (Secale cereale L.) -ryegrass (Lolium L. multiflorum Lam.) pasture to characterize stocking rate (2.5, 3.7, and 4.9 steers/ha) effects on grazing patterns. In another study, grazing indices were calculated for bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] to describe pasture utilization over time for three stocking rates (3.0, 5.9, 8.9 steers/ha). Distributions of disk meter height for rye-ryegrass showed distinct grazing patterns for each stocking rate, with the distributions changing from bimodal to multi-modal from heavy to light stocking rates. Bermudagrass was not pattern grazed, but grazing indices showed that the extent that pastures were grazed was not consistent over time for any of the stocking rates.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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