Impacts of patch-burn grazing on livestock and vegetation in the tallgrass prairie

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dc.contributor.author Rensink, Cade Brion
dc.date.accessioned 2009-12-18T16:40:10Z
dc.date.available 2009-12-18T16:40:10Z
dc.date.issued 2009-12-18T16:40:10Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2097/2328
dc.description.abstract Patch-burn grazing is a relatively new concept in terms of rangeland management. While numerous benefits have been associated with this system, in the tallgrass prairie of Kansas, cattle production and sustainability of rangeland are critical. In 2006, 253 ha at the KSU Bressner Range Research Unit in Woodson County, Kansas were subjected to spring patch-burn grazing (using one-third portions) and traditional full-burn grazing. Each treatment within the split-block design was replicated four times for 3 years. The objectives were to evaluate whether livestock performance would be compromised under this grazing system, to monitor the health of the rangeland, and to observe the usefulness of this tool as a potential control of the invasive plant sericea lespedeza [Lespedeza cuneata (Dumont) G. Don]. In regards to cattle performance, burn treatments had no significant difference in average daily gain (p≥0.10) in any of the 3 years. On average, cattle utilized 61% of the current year’s forage production in patch-burned portions, which was higher (p≤0.10) than that of unburned (30%) and full-burn (41%) portions. Results of the botanical composition show forb and woody plant composition did not differ between treatments, however differences (p≤0.10) were present in grass composition. Total annual grasses increased 19.1 percentage units under patch-burn and 2.1 units under full-burn, while total perennial grasses decreased 18.4 and 1.1 units, respectively. When evaluated by treatment area (one-third portion), results indicated that the 3-year cycle did allow enough time for recovery. At 2 years after treatment (2-YAT), no significant difference in composition(p≥0.10) was present between initial patch-burn portions and the full-burn pastures. Finally, in only 1 year of the study did cattle statistically consume a greater percentage of sericea lespedeza plants (p≤0.10) in the patch-burned portions (92%) than in full-burned pastures (35%). Biomass utilization did not differ (p≥0.10) between burn treatments. Surprisingly, there was a trend for the number of plants in the sampled areas of the patch-burn portions to decrease throughout the cycle. However, at the conclusion of the 3-year cycle, sericea densities did not differ(p≥0.10) between treatments. Patch-burn grazing shows promise as a potential management tool for Kansas land managers. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Kansas State University en
dc.subject Rangeland management en_US
dc.subject Patch-burn grazing en_US
dc.subject Livestock performance en_US
dc.subject Grazing distribution en_US
dc.subject Botanical composition en_US
dc.subject Sericea lespedeza en_US
dc.title Impacts of patch-burn grazing on livestock and vegetation in the tallgrass prairie en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.degree Master of Science en_US
dc.description.level Masters en_US
dc.description.department Department of Agronomy en_US
dc.description.advisor Walter H. Fick en_US
dc.subject.umi Agriculture, Agronomy (0285) en_US
dc.subject.umi Agriculture, Range Management (0777) en_US
dc.date.published 2009 en_US
dc.date.graduationmonth December en_US


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