Effectiveness of nutrient supplement placement for changing beef cow distribution
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation , 63 , 2008

George, M.R., McDougald, N.K., Jensen, W.A., Larsen, R.E., Cao, D.C., Harris, N.R.

Assessments of conservation effects are being conducted to determine the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices. The practice of nutrient supplement placement to improve livestock distribution has not been designated a “best management practice” by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Three studies in California visually and statistically document the effectiveness of nutrient supplement placement for changing livestock distribution. The initial study conducted in the Sierra Nevada foothills demonstrated that use of riparian patches could be reduced with strategic placement of dehydrated molasses supplement. A study on an adjacent ranch found that during the dry season, supplement placement effectively redistributed livestock by attracting them into a zone that extended out to about 600 m (1,980 ft) from the supplement. In a study on a coastal ranch in San Luis Obispo County, nutrient supplements were used to attract cows into an ungrazed forest adjacent to grazed grassland. The results of the studies reported here support the effectiveness of supplement placement for changing livestock distribution. Integration of supplement placement practices into best management practices and into NRCS’s prescribed grazing standard is supported by this research.