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Cattle distribution and behavior in southern-pine silvopasture versus open-pasture

Authors
  • Karki, Uma1
  • Goodman, Mary S.1
  • 1 Auburn University, Department of Agronomy and Soils, 202 Funchess Hall, Auburn, AL, 36849-5412, USA , Auburn (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Agroforestry Systems
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Aug 27, 2009
Volume
78
Issue
2
Pages
159–168
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10457-009-9250-x
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Shade present in silvopasture systems could reduce heat stress associated with microclimatic conditions that characterize warm-weather portions of the year on the Coastal Plain of the Southeast USA. Objectives of this research were to: (1) quantify diurnal distribution patterns of landscape use and behavior of cattle in loblolly-pine (Pinus taeda) silvopasture versus open-pasture landscapes, and (2) relate observed differences in landscape use and cattle behavior patterns between the two pastures to differences in microclimatic conditions, and forage quantity and quality. The research was conducted in Chipley, Florida USA within a 5-ha cell of a loblolly-pine-bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) silvopasture (tree age 20 year), and a 5-ha open bahiagrass pasture with unlimited access to an adjacent 1-ha wooded area. One-day observations of diurnal distribution and behavior of cattle were conducted in March, June, and September 2007; microclimatic conditions were measured, and forage quantity and quality were estimated within each landscape. Cattle utilized the landscape more evenly in the silvopasture versus the open-pasture and this difference was mainly attributed to reduced solar radiation recorded in the silvopasture. Grazing was the dominant behavior in the silvopasture while loafing was dominant in the open-pasture. Shade present in silvopasture appeared to reduce heat stress for cattle grazing during warm-weather portions of the year on the Coastal Plain of the Southeast USA. Further study is needed to determine how this reduction in heat stress influences cattle performance in southern-pine silvopasture, and the nature and extent of the interactions among animal distribution and behavior, microclimatic conditions, and forage characteristics in these systems.

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