North Dakota State University * Dickinson Research Extension Center
1089 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601-4642 Voice: (701) 483-2348 FAX: (701) 483-2005


GRAZING VALUE AND MANAGEMENT OF CRP LANDS

J. Nelson and L. Tisor

SUMMARY

Crossbred cow-calf pairs grazed on CRP acreage in South West North Dakota (Bowman County) for a period of 123 days from May to September. Cows gained 13.26 lbs./acre and calves gained 50.97 lbs./ acre on the seasonlong (SL) system. Gains on the Twice Over Rotation (TOR) system were 14.15 lbs./acre for cows and 47.0 lbs./acre for calves.

In 1993, the TOR system of grazing allowed cow gains of 17.3 lbs./acre and calf gains averaging 52.4 lbs./ acre. The SL cow gain averaged 14.6 lbs./acre while calve gains averaged 41.9 lbs./acre.

Hay production in 1995 averaged 1.91 tons per acre for the first cutting and O.52 ton on the second cutting. The four year average hay yield from 1992 to 1995 averaged 1.38 tons per acre on the first cutting and 0.51 ton per acre on the second cutting. The overall quality of the hay has improved since 1992 when the first year's haying removed of dead material found in the hay the first year. This trial is due to continue for one more year and the results may change.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this study are to determine:

  1. The floristic composition and structure of CRP lands and to note changes in floristic composition and structure due to grazing and haying over 5 years.

  2. The production and utilization of CRP land vegetation under seasonlong and twice-over grazing.

  3. The production and quality of hay from CRP lands.

  4. The success of game and non-game wildlife species on CRP lands.

  5. The erosion from CRP lands that have been variously grazed and hayed and to compare this with similar cropland.

  6. The economic returns from grazing and haying CRP lands.

This trial involves several other research centers and government agencies. This report will only cover that information gathered by the Dickinson Research Center. A complete report entitled Conservation Reserve Program (CPR) Grazing and Haying Study by William Parker, Paul Nyren et. al. will be published.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The forth year of a proposed five year project to study the effects of haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres was conducted by the Dickinson Research Center in 1995.

Fifty seven pair of first calf crossbred (AXH) pairs were allotted to either a 131 acre pasture grazed for the entire season (SL) or to a set of three 75 acre rotation pastures (TOR). There were 22 pair on the seasonlong pasture and 35 pair on the rotation pastures. The cow-calf pairs grazed from May 25, 1995 to September 25, 1995, a period of 123 days. The cows rotated through the TOR pastures twice during the 123 day grazing period.

The stocking rate was 1.48 acres/AUM on seasonlong and 1.59 acres/AUM on rotation pasture.

Artificial insemination, was used prior to the start of the grazing period. Purebred yearling Charolais clean up bulls were turned with the cows on May 25, 1995 and remained with them until July 28, 1995, a period of 65 days.

The cows were individually weighed and body condition scored at the start, finish, and at intermediate dates based on rotation times. Individual calf weights were collected at the same time. The TOR cattle started grazing in pasture #2, rotated to #1 and then to pasture #3, back to 2, 1, and finished in pasture #3. (see diagram). Animal performance and body condition scores (BCS) are shown in Table 1. Bull weights are not included in this report.

DISCUSSION

Results to date with both heifers and cow-calf pairs show satisfactory gains for both classes of cattle. The pastures contained a significant amount of alfalfa in the grass mixture which caused concern about the possibility of bloat. Therefore, during each of the four trial years, proloxalene (Bloat-Guard) has been mixed with the mineral mixture in an effort to reduce or prevent bloat. In 1993, one cow died of suspected bloat, although an autopsy could not confirm the cause of death.

Both the SL and TOR grazing programs have provided more than adequate forage at the stocking rates used to date. Forage quality deteriorates rather quickly after the first week of July. Late summer rains tend to revive the plant growth and add to the overall quality of the forage.

 

Pasture arrangement on Sec. 26 and 35-130-102
wpe13.gif (3220 bytes)

 

Table 1: Cow And Calf Performance Grazing CRP Pastures in 1995.
- Seasonlong SYSTEM TWICE OVER ROTATION
Pasture Size--Acres 131 131
No. of Pairs 22 35
Days Grazed 123 123
Stocking Rate Acres/AUM 1.48 1.59
AUMs/Acre 0.68 0.63

 

Date Cow Wt. Period Gain ADG BCS Cow Wt. Period Gain ADG BCS
May 25 1091.7 - - 6.27 1101.7 - - 6.34
June 15 1012.7 -18.95 -0.9 6.39 1074.3 -27.4 -1.31 6.51
July 5 1067.6 - 5.18 -0.26 6.61 1079.5 5.2 0.26 6.54
July 28 1153.1 85.5 3.72 6.5 1171.0 91.4 3.98 6.5
August 14 1158.9 5.86 0.34 6.48 1170.2 -0.8 -0.05 6.43
Sept. 8 1184.1 25.23 1.01 6.34 1199.2 28.9 1.16 6.47
Sept. 25 1170.6 -13.5 0.79 6.27 1192.7 - 6.43 -0.38 6.56
-
Total Gain 78.90 - - - 91.00 - - -
Gain/Acre 13.25 - - - 14.16 - - -
Gain/Acre/Day 0.64 - - - 0.74 - - -

 

Date Calf Wt. Period Gain ADG Calf Wt. Period Gain ADG
May 25 215.1     205.9    
June 15 263.3 48.2 2.3 253.6 47.7 2.27
July 5 319.1 55.8 2.54 304.6 51.0 2.55
July 28 380.8 61.7 2.59 373.5 68.9 3.0
August 14 423.3 42.5 2.57 409.8 36.3 2.13
Sept. 8 480.2 56.9 2.5 477.8 68.0 2.72
Sept 25 518.6 38.4 2.47 508.0 30.2 1.77
 
Total Gain 303.50     302.10    
Gain/Acre 50.97     46.99    
Gain/Acre/Day 2.50     2.41

 

Table 1a. Two year combined results of cow-calf pairs grazing CRP pastures

  Seasonlong System Twice Over Rotation
  1993 1995 Ave. 1993 1995 Ave.
Cow gain/hd 112.60 78.90 95.75 111.40 90.97 101.19
Cow gain/acre 14.62 13.26 13.94 17.32 14.15 15.74
Cow ADG 0.88 0.64 0.76 0.87 0.74 0.81
 
Calf gain/hd 322.60 303.50 313.05 336.60 302.14 319.37
Calf gain/acre 41.86 50.97 46.42 52.37 47.00 49.69
Calf ADG 2.52 2.47 2.50 2.63 2.46 2.55
 
Combined gain lbs. Per acre 56.48 64.23 60.36 69.69 61.15 65.42

 

Table 2. Two year average performance of bred yearling heifers grazing CRP acreage.

  Seasonlong System Twice Over Rotation

 

1992 1994 Ave. 1992 1994 Ave.
Acres 131 131 131 225 225 225
Number 24 30 27 52 56 54
Days 125 127 126 125 127 126
Gain/hd 226 164 195 199 186 192.5
Ave. Daily Gain 1.81 1.29 1.55 1.59 1.47 1.53
Gain/acre (lbs.) 41.45 37.52 39.49 45.93 46.39 46.16


  Table 3. Hay Yield on CRP Acreage in 1995
    1st Cutting 2nd Cutting Total
July 5   Sept. 8    
Acres 34.5 34.5    
Bales 139 38   177
Ave. Wt 950 950   950
Tons 66 18   84
Tons/Acre 1.91 0.52   2.44
Return/acre at $45/T 85.95 23.47   109.80

 

Table 3a. Four Year Results of Hay Production on CRP Acres South of Bowman, ND.
Yield per acre--tons 1992 1993 1994 1995 Ave.
1st Cutting 2.00 0.80 0.80 1.91 1.38
2nd Cutting 0.87 0.63 0.00 0.52 0.51

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