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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Steer response to rotational or continuous grazing on switchgrass and big bluestem pastures
Year: 1996
Author(s): George, J.R., Hintz, R.L., Moore, K.J., Barnhart, S.K., Buxton, D.R.
Source Title: Proceedings of the American Forage and Grassland Conference
Source Type:
pages: 150-154
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Native warm-season grasses can provide large amounts of high quality forage during the hot and often dry mid-summer months of June, July, and August. Maximum potential benefit of these grasses depends on management of the entire cool-season and warm-season grazing system. Producers who wait until mid-summer to graze warm-season pastures after the cool-season pastures have been mostly utilized and are much less productive, may be unnecessarily sacrificing forage yield and quality and associated animal performance on the warm-season pasture component in the total grazing system. This study was conducted to compare two grazing systems for the warm-season pasture component. Fall-born steers grazed pastures of Cave-in-rock swithcgrass or Roundtree big bluestem during 3 years (1993-1995). Grazing systems were either 1) continuous (early July into August) or 2) rotational (2 wk short-duration intensive in June, followed by a 4 wk rest period with a second grazing period into August). Pasture carrying-capacity (steeer days/acre, SDA) for switchgrass and big bluestem pastures, when averaged over 3 years, was 2.2 (174 vs 81 days) and 2.6 (187 vs 72 days) times as much respectively, for rotational vs continuous grazing. Steer average daily gain (ADG) was 2.43 vs 1.87 lb for switchgrass and 2.86 vs 2.42 lb for big bluestem with rotational vs continuous grazing systems, and steer liveweight gain (LWG) was 472 vs 171 lb/acre and 354 vs 196 lb/acre for the same respective grasses and grazing systems. Greater herbage quality and reduced trampling losses accounted for much of the observed advantages with rotational grazing.
Publisher: American Forage and Grassland Council. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada