Evaluation of Low-Stress Herding and Supplement Placement for Managing Cattle Grazing in Riparian and Upland Areas
Rangeland Ecology & Management , 61 , 2008
Bailey, D.W., Van Wagoner, H.C., Weinmeister, R., Jensen, D.
Management practices are often needed to ensure that riparian areas are not heavily grazed by livestock. A study was conducted in Montana during midsummer to evaluate the efficacy of low-stress herding and supplement placement to manage cattle grazing in riparian areas. Three treatments were evaluated in three pastures over a 3-yr period in a Latin-square design (n59). Each year, naı¨ve 2-yr-old cows with calves were randomly assigned to the three treatments: 1) free-roaming control, 2) herdingfrom perennial streams to upland target areas, and 3) herding to upland sites with low-moisture block supplements. Stubbleheights along the focal stream were higher (P50.07) in pastures when cattle were herded (mean6SE, 2362 cm) than incontrols (1563 cm). Global positioning system telemetry data showed that herding reduced the time cows spent near(,100 m) perennial streams (P50.01) and increased the use of higher elevations (P50.07) compared with controls. Eveningvisual observations provided some evidence that free-roaming cows (44%619%) were in riparian areas more frequently(P50.11) than herded cows (23%66%). Fecal abundance along the focal stream was less (P50.07) with herding(61.9611.4 kg ? ha21) than in controls (113.2611.4 kg ? ha21). Forage utilization within 600 m of supplement sites wasgreater (P50.06) when cows were herded to low-moisture blocks (18%66%) compared with controls and herding alone(8%62%). Moving cattle to uplands at midday using low-stress herding is an effective tool to reduce use of riparian areas.Herding cattle to low-moisture blocks can increase grazing of nearby upland forage but may not provide additional reduction incattle use of riparian areas compared with herding alone.