Skip to Main Content
Livestock forage conditioning: bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and bottlebrush squirreltail.Author(s): Dave Ganskopp; Tony Svejcar; Marty Vavra
Source: Journal of Range Management. 57(4): 384-392
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: Download Publication (1.4 MB)
DescriptionResearch on Anderson and Scherzinger's hypothesis that spring cattle grazing can positively affect subsequent nutritional characteristics of grasses have generated mixed results. Our objectives were: 1) to evaluate fall/winter nutritional indices of bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum [Pursh] Scribn. & Smith), Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis Elmber.), and bottlebrush squirreltail (Sitanion hystrix (Nutt.) Smith) in ungrazed, lightly grazed (33% utilization), or heavily grazed (69% utilization) pastures stocked with cattle at the boot stage of growth; and 2) to quantify opportunity costs of applying those treatments on fall standing crop. Compared with ungrazed stands, light and heavy spring grazing decreased September standing crop by 32 and 67%; respectively. September/December crude protein (CP) among heavily grazed grasses (x = 6.9%) exceeded ungrazed controls (x = 3.9%) for 11 of 12 comparisons. Crude protein of lightly grazed grasses (x = 5.2%) as higher than ungrazed controls for 6 of 12 comparisons. Herbage was more nutritious during the drier of the 2 years sampled. Among grazed treatments, fall/winter CP measures were highest for bottlebrush squirreltail (x = 7.4%), intermediate for Idaho fescue (5.9%), and lowest for bluebunch wheatgrass (O = 4.9%). In fall/winter, herbage was most digestible in heavily grazed paddocks (x = 59%), intermediate in lightly grazed paddocks (x = 53%), and least digestible in ungrazed areas (x = 49%). Light and heavy spring cattle grazing can augment fall/winter forage quality of bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue and, bottlebrush squirreltail. Spring grazing reduces subsequent standing crop, but remaining forage will be nutritionally superior to herbage in ungrazed stands.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationGanskopp, Dave; Svejcar, Tony; Vavra, Marty. 2004. Livestock forage conditioning: bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, and bottlebrush squirreltail. Journal of Range Management. 57(4): 384-392
KeywordsAgropyron spicatum, Festuca idahoensis, Sitanion hystrix, beef cattle, big game, winter range, wildlife, habitat, diet quality
- Abundances of coplanted native bunchgrasses and crested wheatgrass after 13 years
- Livestock forage conditioning among six northern Great Basin grasses
- Hydrothermal assessment of temporal variability in seedbed microclimate
XML: View XML