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beef cattle, grazing, prairie dogs, diet quality, forage intake, Global Positioning System
On the Ground
- One objective of the ongoing Renewal on Standing Rock Reservation project is to evaluate the response of grazing steers to the level of prairie dog colonization on Northern Mixed Grass Prairie.
- We fenced four pastures to create an increasing gradient of a proportion of the pasture area colonized by prairie dogs. Pastures are stocked with yearling steers during each growing season.
- Comparing steer performance, Global Positioning System (GPS) locations of grazing, diet samples, and ingestive behavior at each proportion of the prairie dog colony per pasture allows prediction of the optimal proportion of colonization, which enables selection of the most balanced diet for cattle to meet performance goals.
- Additionally, it will allow recommendation of management options for any given level of prairie dog colonization to optimize cattle nutrient intake.
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Olson, Kenneth C.; Schauer, Christopher; Engel, Chanda; Kincheloe, Janna J.; Brennan, Jameson R.; and Hauptman, Ben L., "Effect of Grazing Prairie Dog—Colonized Rangeland on Cattle Nutrition and Performance: A Progress Report" (2016). Natural Resource Management Faculty Publications. 192.