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Impact of Grazing Management on Forage Productivity

Government of Saskatchewan

Jeff Braidek

April 2012 - February 2014

Goal: Biodiversity, Financial Viability

Audience: Cow-Calf

Project Type: Demonstration

Location: Saskatchewan

Forage productivity is has implications on long term financial viability. This project examined how species mix and grazing practices can impact long term forage productivity.

Three mixes were planted including: (1) sainfoin, alfalfa, meadow bromegrass, (2) cicer milkvetch, alfalfa, meadow bromegrass, and (3) alfalfa, green needlegrass, northern wheatgrass, western wheatgrass, needle and thread, rough fescue, blue grama. Forage productivity was monitored under two grazing systems: (1) moderately grazing with a twice-over grazing system, and (2) heavy gracing with simulated continuous grazing.

The proportion of sainfoin was the same under moderate grazing but decreased in heavy grazing. While the proportion of cicer in the mixture increased under moderate grazing and was no different under heavy grazing. Forage yields were less under heavy grazing versus moderate grazing all mixtures. Forage quality as measured by crude protein was lower on sainfoin with heavy grazing, and higher on cicer milkvetch with heavy grazing. Total Digestible Nutrients (TDN) was higher on both mixtures with heavy grazing, but could be due to concentration in plants.

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