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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: Stocking rate effects on intensive-early stocked flint hills bluestem range
Year: 1988
Author(s): Owensby, C. E., Cochran, R., Smith, E. F.
Source Title: Journal of Range Management
Source Type: Journal
pages: 483-487
Original Publication: http://  
Abstract: Stocking rate effects on intensive-early stocked Kansas Flint Hills range were studied from 1982 through 1987. Rates were 2X, 2.5X, and 3X normal season-long stocking rates for 200-225 kg steers. Study design was a randomized complete block with 2 replicates. Grass and forb standing crop (kg/ha) were estimated at the time of livestock removal (mid July) and again in early October. Plant basal cover and composition were taken in early June the year prior to the study and annuaily thereafter. Overall growing season precipitation during tbe study period was below normal, with late-summer precipitation much below normal in the second and third years of the study. Grass standing crop (GSC) in mid July decreased with increased stocking rate, but by early October GSC was similar under the 2.5X and 3X stocking rates, but continued to be lower than that under the 2X rate. There was no consistent response in mid July forb standing crop (FSC) with respect to stocking rate. In early October, FSC was either not affected by stocking rate (1983, 1986, and 1987) or was greater under the biggest stocking rate (1982,1984, and 1985). Tbe major changes in botanical composition and basal cover were a reduction in Indiangrass and an increase in Kentucky bluegrass as stocking rate increased. Botanical composition of big bluestem increased under the 2X rate but did not change under the bigber rates. Individual steer gains were similar under the different stocking rates, but livestock breed appeared to affect magnitude of the gain. Since individual gains did not differ, gains per ha were substantiaiiy increased by tbe bigger stocking rates.