Beef cattle performance and forage characteristics of continuous, 6-paddock, and 11-paddock grazing systems.

B. S. Bertelsen, D. B. Faulkner, D. D. Buskirk, J. W. Castree

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    31 Scopus citations


    Heifer performance, diet composition, and forage composition were compared during rotational and continuous grazing of mixed pasture (alfalfa, tall fescue, orchardgrass). One hundred eighteen yearling heifers were used to compare the three grazing systems during 2 yr. Treatments included continuous (CONT), 6-paddock rotational (6-PADD), and 11-paddock rotational grazing (11-PADD). Rotational paddocks were grazed for 6 d (6-PADD) and 3 d (11-PADD). All rotational paddocks were rested for 30 d. Put-and-take heifers were used to maintain forage availability and measure stocking rate. Forage availability was determined using a rising-plate meter. One ruminally fistulated heifer grazed each pasture during the 1st yr to obtain composition estimates from reticulorumen evacuation samples. Standing forage was sampled before and after grazing to obtain forage availability and nutrient composition during the 1st yr. Daily gain did not differ (P > .5) among treatments. Rotationally grazed pastures had higher (P < .05) stocking rates than CONT. Gain per hectare for 6-PADD was 40% greater (P < .05) for the CONT, and gain per hectare for 11-PADD tended to be higher (34%) (P = .06) than that for CONT. Organic matter intakes expressed as a percentage of BW did not differ (P > .4) among treatments. Diet quality and forage digestibility were similar among treatments. Rotational grazing increased beef production per hectare by increasing stocking rate without decreasing daily gain or diet quality compared with a continuous grazing system.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1381-1389
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of animal science
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jun 1993

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Genetics


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