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> Abstract: Management Strategies for Improved
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.