Upland sites in the Nebraska Sandhills are dominated by warm-season grasses, although cool-season graminoids often produce from 10% to 40% of the herbage. The grazing season on uplands traditionally begins when warm-season grasses have initiated rapid growth, which coincides with declining nutrient density of cool-season plants. Earlier initiation of grazing would improve the efficiency of use of cool-season plants. A study was conducted in 2001 and 2002 to characterize the growth of cool-season species on upland range and to determine the use and herbage production in response to spring grazing date and stocking rate. Grazing dates were 10 April, 1 May, and 22 May, combined with stocking rates of 3, 6, and 9 AUD (animal unit days)·ha−1. Needleandthread (Stipa comata Trin. & Rupr.) and sedges (Carex spp.) accounted for an average of 48% of the spring herbage yield. Amount of total current-year herbage ranged from 114 to 472 kg·ha−1 over the grazing dates. Overall, paddock use of needleandthread and sedges averaged 11% and 4%, respectively. Use on 10 April averaged 61% of that observed on 1 and 22 May, likely because of short plant height (5 cm). Residual (prior-year) herbage probably was a substantial component of animal diets on 10 April. Increasing stocking rate resulted in greater herbage use (% weight removed) and percentage of plants grazed (P < 0.1). Total herbage yield in mid-June (1 130 kg·ha−1) and mid-August (1 350 kg·ha−1) was greatest when paddocks were grazed in April, and it declined by approximately 20% when grazed in May (P < 0.1). Overall, upland grazing strategies that include a grazing period in early May will result in greater utilization of cool-season species, but summer yield will be reduced. However, utilization of cool-season species in the spring would be advantageous, because they are being consumed at a time when their nutritive value and palatability are greater.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.