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Special Topic Sustainable Rangeland Management Joshua Castleberry Central Carolina Technical College.

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Presentation on theme: "Special Topic Sustainable Rangeland Management Joshua Castleberry Central Carolina Technical College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Special Topic Sustainable Rangeland Management Joshua Castleberry Central Carolina Technical College

2 Rangeland Natural Vegetation Ecologically viable if all components are present and functional Anthropogenic management includes managed livestock grazing and prescribed fire

3 Pastureland L - pascere ”to feed” Enclosed tracts of farmland used for grazing Often subject to heavy agricultural practices (plantings, fertilizer, pesticides) Meadows (Cut for hay prior to allowing grazing)

4 percentage of state encompassed by rangeland and pastureland

5 Grasses of Montana State Grass – Bluebunch WheatgrassBluebunch Wheatgrass

6 Cool Weather Grasses SpeciesCultivars Drought Tolerance Trampling Resistance Mowing Tolerance Remarks western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) Rosana, RodanModerateGood forms open sod, bluish in color thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus) Critana, Bannock, Schwendimar GoodFair finer leaved than western wheatgrass, good seedling vigor streambank wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus) SodarGoodFair similar to thickspike, good seedling vigor green needlegrass (Nassella viridula) LodormModerateFair best in a mix with other cool- season grasses

7 Warm Weather Grasses SpeciesCultivars Drought Tolerance Trampling Resistance Mowing Tolerance Remarks blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) Bad River, Willis, Alma Excellent Goodshort stature, infrequent mowing, late green-up buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides) Bismarck, Topgun, Plains GoodExcellentGoodshort stature, infrequent mowing, late green-up best results with plugs sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) Killdeer, PierreModerateFairPoortallest of grama grasses

8 Range Plants Grass Forb Shrub Trees

9 Grasses Flowers are not showy and usually are the same color as the stems and leaves. Leaves are in two rows on the same stem. Veins in leaves are parallel Stems are jointed and usually hollow Roots are generally fibrous

10 Forb Forbs are broad-leafed, non-woody plants with net like veins in the leaves. Many garden plants and plants we call weeds are forbs. Flowers are usually colorful and show. Stems die back to the base of the plant each year. May have fibrous, tap, or bulbous roots.

11 Shrub Woody plants with stems that live over winter branch from near the base. Like trees, but usually are smaller. Flowers are usually colorful. Leaves have netlike veins, and are shorter and wider than grass leaves. Has a large taproot or strong, branching roots.

12 Tree Elongated woody stem (trunk) supporting woody branches and leaves May have flowers (angiosperms) or pollen cones (gymnosperms) Wide variety of leaf and root configurations

13 Anatomy of Grass

14 Ecological (Rangeland) Site An area of land with a combination of soil, climatic, topographic, and natural vegetation features that set it apart significantly from adjacent areas. Expressed in terms of soil depth, topography, slope, plant production, and species composition. Vegetation on a particular site will vary in composition and production from one region of the state to another and from year-to-year because of changes in precipitation.


16 Ecological process Plant composition Fuel Load Grazing load Nutrient cycling Fire Invasive/noxious species


18 Stocking Rates AU – Animal Unit. 1,000 lb. cow with calf AUD – Animal Unit Day. 26 lbs. dry forage AUM – Animal Unit Month. 780 lbs. Dry Forage AUY – Animal Unit Year. 9,360 lbs. dry forage

19 Calculate A livestock producer has 50 head of 1,000-lb cows on 200 acres for 12 months. The stocking rate of this operation would be – Total Land Area ÷ [(#AUs) x (Grazing Season)] – 200 acres ÷ [(50AUs) x (12 months)] = 0.33 acres per AU month (AUM) or 4 acres per AU year (AUY)

20 Animal Unit Equivalances Animal TypeAUEDM demand (lbs./day) Calves (300 lbs.).49 Calves (400 lbs.).512 Calves (600 lbs.).718 Bulls1.2532 Horses1.2532 Sheep.25 Goats.174 White-tailed Deer.174

21 Best Management Practices (BMPs) The golden rule: move animals to a fresh area before they graze any plant regrowth Learn how plants grow and animals graze Identify your goals for your pasture Determine your fencing, water, and animal facility needs.

22 classes of livestock Recognize different classes of livestock and understand their interaction with wildlife species. United States federal legislation sometimes more narrowly defines the term to make specified agricultural commodities either eligible, or ineligible, for a program or activity P.L. 106-78, Title IX - cattle, swine, and lambs 1988 disaster assistance legislation - cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry (including egg-producing poultry), equine animals used for food or in the production of food, fish used for food, and other animals designated by the Secretary

23 Just for fun 81-5-101 Moving livestock from customary range forbidden. (1) A person who willfully moves or causes to be moved any cattle, horses, mules, swine, llamas, alpacas, bison, or sheep from their owner's customary range without the permission of the owner shall upon conviction be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 6 months or by a fine not exceeding $ 500, or both.

24 historical use of the land Homestead Act of 1862 - 160-acre tract of public land to a citizen or head of a family who had resided on and cultivated the land for five years after the initial claim.

25 Private rights vs Public access Baker v. Morton – Established Homesteader’s Rights Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 – “stop injury to public grazing lands and provide for their orderly use, improvement and development.” Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon – Doctrine of Regulatory Taking Geer v. Connecticut – Established states’ rights to regulate wildlife Kleppe v. New Mexico – Established complete power that Congress has over public lands necessarily includes the power to regulate and protect the wildlife living there. Congress may enact legislation governing federal lands pursuant to the property clause and “when Congress so acts, federal legislation necessarily overrides conflicting state laws under the supremacy clause.”

26 Impacts of Grazing Depends heavily on the timing and intensity of grazing Vegetation removal Roughing and Compacting of soil Nutrient deposition

27 Plant response to grazing It’s a cow eat plant world out there – herbivore damage is part of life for rangeland plants Too much damage prevents photosynthesis/ NPP Early season damage is OK (High resource availability) Late season damage is bad (High energy requirements for reproduction + scarce resource) Dormant plants not susceptible to grazing

28 Grazing Avoidance Thorns, prickles, and spines (Megafauna) Hairy or waxy leaf surface (Insects) Ground level meristems Secondary compounds (alkaloids, tannins, or essential oils) Grazing tolerance(higher potential to mobilize stored energy sources and replace leaves after defoliation)

29 Ecological Benefits of Grazing Out with the old, in with the new (leaves, that is) Extra stimulation of seed production


31 Overgrazing Increase in less palatable plants Increased soil erosion Increase in weedy species that thrive under disturbance Decreased production of important forage plants Most grasses and Forbs can handle 40-50% of their leaves and stems removed annually Light 65% biomass removed



34 E.L.K. Ecosystem and Landscape Kinesiology – “Reestablish viable South Carolina Prairie ecosystems from the grasses to the elk”. E.L.K.

35 H.R. 1234 Currently in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs Committee – “To develop partnerships and generate funds to establish a process in order to rehabilitate Prairie ecosystems to the levels seen prior to the 1800s”

36 Your Name Here Your Group has been tapped to report to the committee Kill Bill? Amendments?

37 Things to consider Is there enough open space in the upstate to recreate a viable prairie ecosystem? If there is enough open space, who owns it? Will it be acquired by the state as state land, or would public-private partnerships work better? How will this project be funded? Who will have access to the ecosystem once it is established? Will it be like a state park where education and entertainment are the primary focus, like a state forest where multiple uses are allowed (including potentially grazing land for cattle farmers), or something entirely different? Which agencies and/or NGOs should take the lead?

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