Supplement placement can be used to manipulate livestock grazing patterns. The objective of this case study was to compare the effect of low-moisture blocks (LMB) and range cake (barley-based cylindrical cubes, 2 cm in diameter, and 2 to 8 cm long) supplementation on cattle grazing patterns in Montana foothill rangeland. One group of nonlactating cows (n = 79) was fed cake 3 times per week (1.8 kg · cow−1 · feeding−1), and the other group (n = 81) had continuous access to LMB in separate pastures using a crossover design. Movement patterns of cows were recorded with global positioning system collars during four periods (2 wk · period−1) during autumn. Range cake was fed on accessible areas, and LMB were placed in higher and steeper terrain. Intake of LMB averaged (mean ± SE) 318 ± 50 g · d−1. Cows fed LMB (8.07° ± 0.20°) were observed on steeper slopes (P = 0.08) than cows fed range cake (6.96° ± 0.19°). Forage utilization decreased as slope increased to a greater degree when range cake was fed than when LMB was fed (P = 0.001). Cows spent more time (P = 0.05) within 100 m of LMB (274 ± 23 min · d−1) than at range cake feeding sites (67 ± 24 min · d−1). Strategic placement of LMB on high, steep terrain appears to be a more practical and effective approach than traditional hand-feeding range cake on intermediate terrain to improve uniformity of cattle grazing on rugged rangeland.
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Vol. 61 • No. 1