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Pacific Northwest Research Station
Blue Mountains National Resources Institute

Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory
1401 Gekeler Lane
La Grande, OR 97850

United States Forest Service.

BMNRI Home > Publications > Abstract: Management Strategies for Improved Cattle Distribution



Management strategies for improved cattle distribution and subsequent riparian health

by M. Dickard

This study, designed to quantify the effect of offstream water and salt on cattle distribution relative to riparian areas, was conducted in response to the need for quantitative data on management strategies aimed at decreasing grazing pressure on riparian ecosystems. From 15 July to 26 August, 1996 and 1997, 3 treatments were randomly assigned to 1 pasture in each of 3 blocks at OSU Hall Ranch. The treatments included: 1) stream access and access to offstream water and trace mineralized salt (W); 2) stream access and no access to offstream water and trace mineralized salt (NW); and 3) ungrazed control (C). Response of cattle to access to offstream water and salt was measured through visual observations of cattle distribution, grazing activity and travel distance, cow/calf performance, vegetation utilization patterns, water quality, and fecal deposit distribution. Distribution patterns of the cattle, measured as the distance of cattle from the stream, was characterized by a time of day by treatment by year interaction. NW cattle began the day further from the stream than did W cattle, but consistently moved closer to the stream after the morning grazing period. Grazing activity and travel distance of cattle were not affected by the presence of offstream water and trace mineral salt. Increased gains of 11.5 kg for cows and 0.14kg/day for calves, were observed in W cattle compared with NW cattle (P<0.05). Measures of total phosphorus, ortho phosphorus, total coliforms, and E. coli indicated no response of water quality to cattle grazing or grazing treatment. Overall, cattle distribution patterns were influenced by the presence of offstream water and trace mineral salt, however grazing activity, travel distance, and water quality responses were not observed.

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station, Blue Mountains National Resources Institute
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:18:42 CST

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