Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-14-2022


Kennedy, Austin. Livestock Performance in Response to High Intensity Rotational Grazing System. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Austin Kennedy 2022.


The production of livestock is composed of a variety of factors all effecting the outcome. For grazing livestock, a key factor in production is the grazing management system. Two of the most common grazing management systems are continuous grazing and rotational grazing. There has been evidence found proving benefits of rotational grazing in regard to vegetation productivity, and prevention and restoration of degraded rangeland. However, there is a lack of clear evidence on the relationship between grazing system and production metrics of livestock. Understanding this relationship can provide the necessary information for livestock producers in order to increase their production capabilities. Therefore, we conducted an experiment that analyzed the weight gain of cattle in rotational and continuous grazing systems. I predicted that the productivity of cattle in an intense rotational grazing system would be higher than a continuous system. Two herds composed of 10 cow-calf pairs each, were placed in either a rotational grazing system or a continuous grazing system. Cattle productivity was analyzed by collecting the weights of the calves over the study period and then calculating the average daily gain. The experiment was unable to identify if the larger productivity from the calves in the rotational grazing system was significantly different than that of the calves in the continuous grazing system. The experiment did find that the calves in the rotational grazing system had a constant rate of weight gain, while the calves in the continuous grazing system witnessed a decrease in the rate of weight gain over the duration of the study. This could imply that over a longer period of time, rotational grazing may result in larger weight gain and larger productivity. In turn providing a larger economic return for producers and more product for consumers.