Effect of Grazing Management on Cattle Diets and Nutrition in the Coastal Prairie


  • D. Lynn Drawe
  • James R. Frasure
  • Billie E. Dahl


grazing management, cattle, diet, nutrition


Cattle diets and nutrition were studied using fecal analysis and bite counts under (1) continuous, yearlong (CG), (2)4·pasture, deferred-rotation (4PDR), and (3) highintensity, low-frequency (HILF) grazing treatments at the Welder Wildlife Foundation Refuge. Of 156 plant species consumed, only 23 provided greater than 1% each of the diet. Grasses comprised 95% of the diet, forbs 4%, and browse 1%. Four warm-season grasses, silver bluestem (Bothriochloa saccharoides), longtom (Paspalum lividum), vine mesquite (Panicum obtusum), and meadow dropseed (Sporobolus asper), comprised a large percentage of the diet in all 3 treatments. Texas winter grass (Stipa leucotricha) was the most highly-preferred cool-season grass. Plant community, soil type, season, and rainfall had greater effects on species consumed than did grazing treatment. On HILF the diet changed from highlypreferred to less-preferred species as the grazing period progressed. The 5 most highly-preferred grasses provided adequate crude protein and calcium to meet the minimum requirements of lactating cows except during winter. All 5 were deficient in phosphorus except during spring green-up. There were no differences in forage digestibility between treatments. Forage digestibility in HILF diets showed a significant (P < .05) decline after the first week of a 3-week grazing period.




How to Cite

Drawe, D. L., Frasure, J. R., & Dahl, B. E. (2016). Effect of Grazing Management on Cattle Diets and Nutrition in the Coastal Prairie. Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2, 17–25. Retrieved from https://txjanr.agintexas.org/index.php/txjanr/article/view/275



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