Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

January 1996


Published in 1996 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report; published by Agricultural Research Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Windbreaks have been recommended as shelter for wildlife, minimizing erosion, trapping of snow. and protection for livestock and humans. Windbreaks have been shown to benefit crop production by increasing grain yield. Protection from windbreaks extends 10 to 12 times the height of the windbreak on the leeward side and three to five times on the windward side. Windbreak benefits depend on the height, density, number of rows, species, length, orientation, and maturity of the windbreak.

In Nebraska, the grazing of crop residues in the winter provides an inexpensive source of feed for growing calves. However, cold and wet winter conditions can affect the performance of the cattle. Livestock in adverse winter conditions may consume more feed, however, the energy is likely used to meet maintenance needs and is not available for productive processes, such as daily gain. A combination of temperature. moisture. and wind velocity can severely affect livestock performance during winter including reduced grazing time and reduced intake.

The objectives of this trial were I) to compare the performance of calves grazing grain sorghum residue in protected and unprotected field conditions. and 2) to determine the influence of conifer field windbreaks on livestock grazing habits.