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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Plant Science

First Advisor

Sharon Clay


Mob grazing uses very high cattle (Bos spp.) stocking densities, ten or more times the NRCS suggested stocking density, for short durations of a few hours to one day in small, temporary paddocks. Benefits of mob grazing may include increased vegetation usage and minimized selective grazing behavior on plants typically avoided by herbivores, such as those producing aromatic oils, tough, woody brush, or problematic weeds compared with systems with lower stocking densities. This project quantified mob cersus rotational grazing cattle effects on absinth wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) at Hayti and Western snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis) at Selby and Chamberlain, South Dakota. Weeds were permanently tagged along transects and plant volumes preand post-grazing were measured. Overall, mob grazing reduced cattle forage selectivity compared with low stocking density rotational grazing, except in the Hayti spray/rotation treatment. A 2,4-D ester herbicide application followed by rotational grazing eliminated 100% of absinth wormwood plants in the short-term. Mob grazing in Hayti reduced absinth wormwood volume by 76% in two-thirds of plants in 2013 and 59% in two-thirds of plants in 2014, compared with no difference (2013) or over a 5000% (2014) increase in volume in rotationally grazed or ungrazed pasture. Small absinth wormwood plants (less than 2800 cm3) were more effectively controlled than larger plants. Mob grazing Western xiv snowberry appreciably reduced volume in over half of plants at Chamberlain and Selby in both years by 45% or more, compared with no change in rotational pasture at either site in 2013. Large and extra-large Western snowberry plants (greater than 5,000 cm3) were more effectively controlled than smaller plants. Mob grazing may be a viable method of short-term weed control in South Dakota grazinglands, especially if combined with herbicides as part of an integrated weed management approach.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Grazing--South Dakota
Weeds--Control--South Dakota
Range management--South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 107-121)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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