The University of Arizona

Tiller defoliation patterns under short duration grazing in tallgrass prairie.

R.L. Gillen, F.T. McCollum, J.E. Brummer


Simulated 8-pasture short duration grazing systems were studied in 1985-86 to determine the effect of grazing schedule and stocking rate on defoliation patterns of individual grass tillers of big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman) and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash). Treatments consisted of 3 grazing schedules (2,3, or 4 rotation cycles per 152-day grazing season) and 2 stocking rates (1.3 and 1.8 times the recommended normal). Grazing schedule and stocking rate did not affect the percent tiller height reduction per grazing period except for the combination of 2-cycle grazing and heavy stocking which increased percent height reduction. Percent tiller height reduction per grazing period decreased over the grazing season for the 3 and 4-cycle grazing schedules. Grazing schedule and stocking rate had little effect on the height at which tillers were defoliated. Increasing the number of grazing periods reduced the percentage of tillers defoliated per grazing period but increased the cumulative defoliation frequency over the grazing season. Grazing schedule did not affect the percentage of tillers ungrazed over the entire grazing season. Big bluestem was consistently defoliated more intensely and frequently than little bluestem.


Schizachyrium scoparium;controlled grazing;stocking rate;Andropogon gerardii;rotational grazing;Oklahoma;tillers;grazing intensity;cattle;defoliation;grazing;plant height

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