The University of Arizona

Modification of cattle grazing distribution with dehydrated molasses supplement.

D.W. Bailey, G.R. Welling


A study was conducted in foothill rangelands during the fall to determine if livestock grazing distribution could be improved by strategic placement of dehydrated molasses supplement blocks (30% crude protein). Three pastures were categorized into inaccessible, easy, moderate, and difficult terrain. Moderate and difficult terrain was further divided into 27 to 55 ha subunits (n=32) and randomly assigned to control or supplement treatments. Every 7 to 10 days supplement and salt were moved; then the new supplement and control subunits were evaluated. Cattle use of the control and supplement subunits was compared by measuring forage utilization and fecal pat abundance both before supplement and salt placement and after removal. Measurements were collected near randomly selected sites within both control and supplement subunits. Salt was placed at half of the sites in both subunits while dehydrated molasses blocks were placed at sites only in the supplement subunit. Average daily supplement intake was lower (p<0.05) in the difficult terrain of 1 pasture (190 g) but ranged from 286 to 386 g in the other areas. Cattle consumed more (p<0.001) salt near supplement than in control areas. More (P=0.01) cattle were observed in areas with supplement (32 +/- 8%) than in control areas (3 +/- 2%). Increase in fecal pats was greater (P=0.01) in areas with supplement (3.3 +/- 0.7 pats/100 m2) than control areas (0.5 +/- 0.5 pats/100 m2) indicating greater use by cattle. Change in forage utilization was also greater (P>0.001) in areas with supplement (17 +/- 2%) than in control areas (-1 +/- 1%). For supplement areas, the increase in forage utilization was greater (p<0.05) in moderate terrain than in difficult terrain. Results from this study suggest that cattle can be lured to underutilized rangeland by the strategic placement of dehydrated molasses supplement blocks.


terrain;salt licks;molasses;weather;hill grasslands;protein content;liveweight gain;body weight;slope;feed supplements;spatial distribution;biomass;Montana;grazing;beef cattle;plant height

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