The use of off-stream water developments and various water gap configurations to modify the watering behavior of grazing cattle.
Rangeland Resources , Master of Science , 1993
Two case studies were designed to study the effects of using off-stream water developments and water gap configurations to modify watering behavior of cattle. There were two objectives: 1) to evaluate an off-stream water source to reduce water quality impacts of grazing cattle on a mountain riparian zone during summer months; and 2) to evaluate water gaps to reduce the amount of manure being deposited in or within one meter of a stream. Installation of a water trough had a significant impact on cattle use of riparian areas. Use of a mountain stream and bottom area (spring) decreased after a watering trough adjacent to these areas was installed. Use of the stream dropped from 4.7 to 0.9 minutes per cow per day, and use of the bottom area dropped from 8.3 to 3.9 minutes per cow per day after the trough was installed. The watering trough offered a convenient and preferred water source over the traditional sources. In this case study, cattle watered at the trough 73.5% of the time, the bottom area 23.5%, and the stream 3% of the time. Cattle spent an average of 3.4 minutes per cow per day watering. While in the riparian zone, cattle spent an average of 47 minutes per cow per day loafing, and 1 minute per cow per day foraging. The cattle exhibited a daily pattern of use in the riparian zone, with 97.4% of the use falling between 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm. In the case study designed to evaluate water gap designs, cattle exhibited no preference between gaps 0.9 or 1.8 meters wide. No significant reduction in watering time or time spent waiting to water was observed with the different designs. Fecal depositions into the water were completely eliminated with all designs tested at both Soap creek and Berry Creek.