Long-Term Ecological Grazing Intensity Research in the Missouri Coteau of North Dakota

Bob Patton, Paul Nyren, Brian Kreft, and Anne Nyren, NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center



Director’s Comments


The following article is a report on the long-term ecological research study and the impact of grazing intensity on the plant communities and their ecology. Long-term ecological research is of great value in understanding the processes that occur over time on the mixed grass prairie of the Northern Great Plains. Long-term research studies are difficult to maintain because of constraints placed on us by budgets and by the policies that demand new projects on a fairly short term basis. The data that is generated by this and other studies like it, are valuable to producers in aiding our understanding of the livestock/plant interactions and how to predict what management practices will insure maximum economic returns yet preserve the resource for future use.


The grazing intensity study at the CGREC has become the flagship grassland ecological study at NDSU. This project, now in its 17th year, has generated well over 1 million data observations. The compilation of this data requires many new computer templates and programs to help analyze the data and compile it in a usable form. This research site is much sought after by researchers from the Main Experiment Station in Fargo and other institutions because of the ecological data that has been compiled over the years. Many other research projects described in this report have been conducted on this site and rely heavily on the data collected over the past 17 years.


You will see a summary of this data in the following report. The tables are large by comparison to other articles in this report because a great deal of information must be considered to explain the trends in plant community dynamics and economics. All the plant community dynamics are analyzed by complex computer statistical programs to insure that the information that is collected and reported is consistent and accurate.


 

Table of Contents

  Director’s Comments

  Introduction

  Livestock Response

  Forage Production and Utilization Treatment Effects

  Soil Water and Forage Production

  Forage Quality

  Plant Community Dynamics

  Recommendations

  Future Research


Next section  -- Introduction

 

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