SDSU Beef Day 2020 Summary Publication

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forage intake, livestock, prairie dogs


Prairie dogs can reduce the carrying capacity on rangelands by up to 50% through direct consumption of vegetation and by clipping plants to improve predator detection. Studies have shown that forage quality and digestibility are greater on prairie dog towns than off-town, however research is lacking that quantifies rates of forage and nutrition intake by cattle grazing pastures occupied by prairie dogs. The objectives of this study were to 1) evaluate relationships between on- and off-town plant communities and cattle grazing locations to identify trends in livestock grazing behavior throughout the growing season, 2) evaluate diet nutrient composition and intake by cattle on plant communities on- and off-town over the grazing season, and 3) study livestock performance in response to level of prairie dog occupation within the pastures.


South Dakota State University


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