The University of Arizona

Comparison of Season-Long Grazing Applied Annually and a 2-Year Rotation of Intensive Early Stocking Plus Late-Season Grazing and Season-Long Grazing

Clenton E. Owensby, Lisa M. Auen


This research measured steer gains, aboveground biomass remaining at the end of the growing season, and economic returns of tallgrass prairie grazed under season long stocking (SLS-C) and a grazing system that included a 2-yr rotation of SLS rotated (SLS-R) and intensive early stocking (IES; 23normal stocking rate)þlate season grazing at the normal stocking rate (IESþLSGR). We hypothesized that even though the stocking rate on the IESþLSG-R pasture was above the recommended rate, the greater regrowth availability in the late season would result in steers gaining as well as or better than those stocked SLS at the normal rate. By rotating the IESþLSG treatment with SLS over 2 yr, we anticipated that the aboveground biomass productive capacity of the IESþLSG pasture would be restored in one growing season. Further, we hypothesized that the increased stocking rate with IESþLSG would increase net profit. Comparing traditional season-long stocking to the system, which was a combination of SLS and IESþLSG rotated sequentially over a 2 yr period, the system increased steer gains by 7 kg . hd^-1 and by 30 kg . ha^-1, had a consistent reduction of 429 kg . ha^-1 biomass productivity, and increased net profit by $55.19 per steer and $34.28 per hectare.

Key Words: biomass production, grazing systems, intensive early stocking, net returns, season-long stocking, steer gains, tallgrass prairie

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