Economic implications of off-stream water developments to improve riparian grazing
Journal of Range Management , 56 , 2003

Stallings, A.M., Tanaka, J.A., Rimbey, N.R., DelCurto, T., Momont, P., Porath, M.L.

Livestock grazing in riparian areas is an important management issue on both private and public lands. A study was initiated in northeastern Oregon to evaluate the economic and ecological impacts of different cattle management practices on riparian areas. The effect of off-stream water and salt on livestock distribution and subsequent impact on riparian use, water quality, and livestock production was evaluated. A multi-period bioeconomic linear programming model is used to evaluate the long-term economic feasibility of this management practice with a riparian utilization restriction of 35% for a 300 cow-calf operation. The utilization restriction resulted in economically optimal herd sizes 10% smaller than the baseline herd size. With the management practice, cattle were distributed more evenly, consumed more upland forage before maximum riparian utilization was reached, and gained more weight. The economic impacts of these outcomes were increased with expected annual net returns to the ranch for the project ranging between $4,500 and $11,000 depending on cattle prices and precipitation levels.