This resulted in two light-to-moderate defoliations during the growing season with regrazing before the majority of plants switched from vegetative to reproductive phases, Teague said. This kept the plants in a leafy, vegetative condition during the growing season to provide a high level of forage quality for the livestock and to ensure the best possible forage regrowth after defoliation.
During drought periods, animal numbers were adjusted to match forage amounts. In the winter, the goal was to graze and trample most of the standing forage to enhance litter cover and minimize self-shading that would limit plant growth in the following spring, he said.
The continuously grazed ranches in each county were stocked at approximately the same stocking rates from year to year over at least the previous nine years. They were otherwise selected by the Natural Resource Conservation Service technical staff in each county as being representative of traditional continuous-grazing ranches in the region.
"The results we measured, representing the combined positive effects of multi-paddock management, indicate the multiple advantages of this management option," Teague said. "Multi-paddock grazing resulted in a higher proportion of desirable tall grasses, a lower proportion of less desirable short grasses, annual winter-growing grasses and forbs, and higher standing crop, even with a higher stocking rate than the lightly stocked continuous grazing."
Although the stocking rate was less with lightly stocked continuous grazing, the preferred plants and areas were never allowed any recovery under continuous grazing while multi-paddock grazing, correctly managed, prevented overgrazing and allowed for adequate recovery after defoliation, he said.
By ensuring light-to-moderate use in the growing season with adequate recovery, the preferred forages are able to capitalize on good growin
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