Restoring Native Tallgrass Prairie and Improving Profitability on Eastern South Dakota Grasslands with Intensive Early Stocking
In 2010, two sites were established beginning in May near Miller, SD and Volga, SD to determine gain per acre, return per acre, and species composition change of Intensive Early Stocking (IES) vs. Season-Long stocking(SL). Study sites were predominately smooth bromegrass and Kentucky bluegrass pasture. At both sites, yearling steers (327 kg) were grazed SL at the recommended stocking rate for 120 days. The IES treatment was grazed at twice the recommended stocking rate for 60 days. All cattle were weighed prior to grazing, at 60 days, and following grazing. Forage yield was measured weekly throughout the grazing season. Gain per acre and return per acre were calculated following the end of the trial. Species composition was sampled in May and September. Gain per acre was similar between the IES and SL treatments; however, there was an increased trend in native warm season grass composition on the IES treatment.
Short term outcomes: the increase in growth efficiency and thus profitability of lightweight cattle as a result of matching intake demand to available forage in the early-season using IES systems will be learned by research team, partners, and cooperating producers. Intermediate outcome: the response of eastern South Dakota grasslands that are dominated by introduced cool-season species to IES systems that favor the growth and development of warm-season tallgrasses will be learned by research team, partners, and cooperating producers. Long-term outcome: development of an IES production system in eastern South Dakota for stocker cattle that improves profitability and market flexibility for producers while helping restore native tallgrass prairie ecosystems.
- Presented first year of data with a poster at International Society for Range Management meeting in Billings, MT. Presented first year of data with a presentation at the South Dakota State Section of Society for Range Management in Watertown, SD. Presented first year of data with a presentation at the SD Grazing School for Agency Personnel
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
- We are starting to see that matching intake demand to forage availability by using IES may not be a way to increase growth efficiency due to the fact that the cool season species we are targeting are too hearty and remain more productive throughout the growing season than we first hypothesized. However; we are seeing that this increase concentration of animals during the first half of the growing season, followed by non-use in the later half, is trending to be beneficial towards warm-season native grasses. ADG was not significantly different between IES and SL (P=0.4481). Gain per acre was not significantly different between IES and SL (P=0.3315). Native warm-season grasses trended higher with the IES (P=0.1406). All other species were not significantly different between IES and SL: Native cool-season grasses (P=0.3471) Introduced cool-season grasses (P=0.6009) Native forbs (P=6992) Introduced forbs (P=0.8661) Litter (P=0.3028) There were no significant differences in forage quality for treatment*collection_time interactions indicating that the forage quality did not decline as the growing season progressed.
Assistant Professor/Range Livestock Specialist
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57006
Office Phone: 6056885455
Range Management Outreach Coordinator/Graduate Student
South Dkaota Grassland Coalition/South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57006
Office Phone: 6056886623
Sip Cattle Co.
36857 287th St
Geddes, SD 57342
Office Phone: 6053373598
603 3rd St W
Clear Lake, SD 57226
Office Phone: 6058742526