Halde, C., Hammermeister, A. M., McLean, N. L., Webb, K. T. and Martin, R. C. 2011. Soil compaction under varying rest periods and levels of mechanical disturbance in a rotational grazing system. Can. J. Soil Sci. 91: 957-964. In Atlantic Canada, data are limited regarding the effect of grazing systems on soil compaction. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of intensive and extensive rotational pasture management treatments on soil bulk density, soil penetration resistance, forage productivity and litter accumulation. The study was conducted on a fine sandy loam pasture in Truro, Nova Scotia. Each of the eight paddocks was divided into three rotational pasture management treatments: intensive, semi-intensive and extensive. Mowing and clipping were more frequent in the intensive than in the semi-intensive treatment. In the extensive treatment, by virtue of grazing in alternate rotations, the rest period was doubled than that of the intensive and semi-intensive treatments. Both soil bulk density (0-5 cm) and penetration resistance (0-25.5 cm) were significantly higher in the intensive treatment than in the extensive treatment, for all seasons. Over winter, bulk density decreased significantly by 6.8 and 3.8% at 0-5 and 5-10 cm, respectively. A decrease ranging between 40.5 and 4.0% was observed for soil penetration resistance over winter, at 0-1.5 cm and 24.0-25.5 cm, respectively. The intensive and semi-intensive treatments produced significantly more available forage for grazers annually than the extensive treatment. Forage yields in late May to early June were negatively correlated with spring bulk density.
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