How Does targeted grazing with small ruminants influence subsequent patch use by mule deer and cattle?

TitleHow Does targeted grazing with small ruminants influence subsequent patch use by mule deer and cattle?
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsUtsumi S.A., Cibils AF, Estell R.E., Boren J., Cooper B.F., Cox S.H., Vaneeuwen D.
Conference NameCorona Field Day Proceedings
Series TitleProceedings, Corona Range Livestock Research Center Field Day
Date PublishedJuly 18, 2008
Conference LocationCorona, NM
ARIS Log Number232661
Keywordscattle, Corona, mule deer, proceedings, small ruminants
AbstractSmall ruminants are increasingly being used in controlled grazing programs to target undesirable vegetation. It has not been determined how targeted juniper browsing affects subsequent use of those patches by cattle and wildlife. To determine whether cattle or mule deer used or avoided patches that had been intensively browsed by sheep and goats, presence of deer and cattle on patches of juniper infested rangeland that had previously been subjected to four targeted grazing prescriptions were monitored. Digital cameras with infrared motion sensors were installed in 10 plots and maintained for one year after intensive grazing by small ruminants. Four single large patches (20 x 30 m) and four patches containing six small (10 x 10 m) plots subjected previously to browsing by goats or goats plus sheep at high (10 m2/AU/day) or low (60 m2/AU/day) stocking density were used (two replicates per treatment), and two other large plots without previous intensive targeted grazing served as controls. Selection indices (frequency of animals in plots compared to control plots) were determined. Both deer and cattle avoided large patches that had been previously browsed by sheep and goats. These patches had received heaviest use of herbaceous vegetation the previous summer (> 73%). Deer selected small patches that had previously been browsed by sheep and goats (SI: 2.24), whereas cattle selected large patches (SI: 1.50) and avoided small patches (SI: 0.59) that had been browsed by goats alone. Cattle showed greatest preference for grazed patches during summer (SI: 3.18), while deer avoided them during summer (SI: 0.20) and spring (SI: 0.13). Presence of cattle on a given patch reduced the probability of mule deer presence.