Date of this Version
Lindsey, Torie, 2016. Grazing Method Effects on Forage Production, Utilization, Animal Performance and Animal Activity on Nebraska Sandhills Meadow. MS Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
A study was conducted on a subirrigated meadow in the Nebraska Sandhills to determine differences in aboveground plant production, utilization, trampling, harvest efficiency, ground cover, plant functional group composition and animal performance among four grazing treatments. Grazing treatments included ultrahigh stocking density, four-pasture rotation with one occupation (4-PR-1), and four-pasture rotation with two occupations (4-PR-2). Pastures were grazed from May to August in 2014 and 2015 at equal stocking rates within years but varied among years. Stocking densities were 225,000 kg ha-1 for ultrahigh stocking density, 7,000 kg ha-1 for 4-PR-1, and 5,000 kg ha-1 for 4-PR-2. Aboveground plant production did not differ among treatments. Litter mass was 2 to 4 times greater in control treatments but there were no differences among grazed treatments. Standing dead biomass did not differ among treatments. Utilization was greater in ultrahigh stocking density treatments than 4-PR-1, likely due to trampling amounts, which were greatest in ultrahigh stocking density. Remaining herbage was lowest in ultrahigh stocking density treatments. Cool-season grass composition was greatest in the 4-PR-1 treatment and lowest in the control treatment. Warm-season grass composition was greatest in 2015 for grazed treatments and in 2014 for the control treatment. Sedges and rushes did not differ among grazed treatments. Percentage forbs did not differ among treatments and peaked in 2014. There were no treatment effects on ground cover; including litter, bare ground and plant base hits. In 2014, steer daily gains among all treatments were not different. In 2015, steer average daily gains in the 4-PR-2 were greater than ultrahigh stocking density and 4-PR-1 daily gain.
Advisors: Walter Schacht and Jerry Volesky