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grazing season length, management intensive grazing, percieved grazing benefits, producer survey, rotational grazing, soil and climate heterogenity


Experimental findings on rotational grazing (RG) trials have generally differed from producer observations of RG outcomes on commercial scale ranches. Factors such as small plot size, short duration trials and relatively rigid grazing management that lacks responsiveness to the dynamic and complex social-ecological systems in grazing trials could all contribute to this disparity in outcomes. These differences call for a better understanding of producer perceptions of RG benefits. To fill this knowledge gap, we surveyed 4500 producers from the Northern and Southern Great Plains of the USA. Among the 875 respondents, 40.5% reported that they used continuous grazing (CG), 52.7% implemented RG management in an extensive manner, while 6.8% adopted management intensive grazing. Compared with CG users, adopters of RG in its extensive and intensive form reported an average annual increase of grazing season by 7.6 and 39.3 days, respectively. When controlling for producer demographics, ranch management goals and other rancher characteristics, we found soil and climate heterogeneity significantly affected the perceived relative benefits of RG vs CG strategies. Therefore, instead of focusing on whether RG outperforms CG per se, future research could focus on comparison of RG benefits under different management intensity levels and identifying soil and climate conditions where RG benefits are more noticeable.

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Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems

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Cambridge University Press


© The Authors 2021

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.