The University of Arizona

Intensive-early stocking for yearling cattle in the Northern Great Plains.

E.E. Grings, R.K. Heitschmidt, R.E. Short, M.R. Haferkamp


A 3-year study was conducted to evaluate grazing strategies for production of growing cattle during summer on Northern Great Plains rangeland. Crossbred yearling steers (N = 123 per year, avg initial weight = 275 kg) were allotted to 1 of 2 treatments replicated in 3 pastures. Treatments were season-long grazing of pastures at recommended stocking rates assuming a 4-month grazing period or intensive-early grazing of pastures stocked at the same rate assuming only a 2-month grazing season. Precipitation in 1993 was 169% of normal resulting in greater forage quality than in other years and no differences were observed in weight gains between treatments during 1993. In 1994 and 1995, steers in the intensive-early stocked pastures gained less weight during the 2 months of grazing than did those in the season-long stocked pastures; however, gain per hectare was greater in the intensive-early stocked pastures. Intensive-early stocking with growing steers may be a viable means to overcome limited forage quality during late summer in the Northern Great Plains and to maximize forage utilization in years of abundant forage.



liveweight gain;body weight;fiber content;stocking rate;steers;crude protein;natural grasslands;summer;precipitation;grazing intensity;in vitro digestibility;biomass;botanical composition;Montana;beef cattle;forage

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