Rotational cattle grazing technique does not improve plant diversity, study suggests

by

Ranchers who employ multi-paddock grazing for cattle do so for many reasons, but a new study from the University of Alberta suggests the practice doesn’t significantly improve plant diversity on the land.

A research team led by Jessica Grenke, PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences, compared adaptive multi-paddock grazing, called AMP, with other grazing systems more common in the northern Great Plains.

AMP is a specialized rotational grazing practice that’s intended to emulate historical grazing patterns of large herds of animals moving rapidly across the landscape, leaving a long recovery period before being grazed again.

While complementary studies by U of A researchers in this multi-pronged project have found ranches using AMP grazing practices have a number of benefits including higher water infiltration and thus better resistance to drought, the practice doesn’t improve plant diversity.

The lone negative effect was a small reduction in the total number of native plant species found within each ranch, which may reflect an intolerance of endemic plant species to AMP grazing.

Please register to read and comment.

 

Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.

Register