Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



24th Range Beef Symposium, Nov. 17-19, 2015, Loveland, Colo.


Copyright 2015 C. A. Matney.


What is grazing? Grazing is the consumption of herbaceous plants by herbivores. Herbaceous plants include forbs (non-woody broadleaf flowering plants), grasses, and grass-like plants (sedges and rushes). Probably the most important and most identifiable herbaceous plant for grazing is grass (Family – Poaceae). There are well over 100 species of grass present on the rangelands of eastern Colorado, and approximately 10,000 grass species can be found across the globe. Grasses account for about a quarter of the earth’s vegetation and make up the preponderance of food (plant parts and seed) for both people and grazing animals. Management of grasses is important for land managers, and principally, understanding how grazing effects grass is paramount.