The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

The Need for a New Approach to Grazing Management - Is Cell Grazing the Answer?

JM Earl and CE Jones

The Rangeland Journal 18(2) 327 - 350
Published: 1996


With any grazing method, the grazing pressure applied to an individual plant is a site, stock density and time dependent variable and the diet selection hierarchy of grazing animals is to the disadvantage of the most palatable and actively growing pasture components. The greater the differences in palatability and abundance among the components of a sward, and the lower the stock density, the greater the variation in the grazing pressure exerted. These effects are heightened when animals are set-stocked under adverse environmental conditions. This paper reports the comparative effects of cell grazing and continuous grazing on pasture composition on three properties on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. The basal diameters, relative frequency and contribution to dry weight of the most desirablelpalatable species at each site were found to remain constant or to increase under cell grazing, while declining significantly under continuous stocking. The converse was true for the least palatable components of the pasture, which declined significantly under cell grazing but changed little under continuous grazing. Percentage ground cover was significantly higher after two years of cell grazing than under continuous grazing. These changes in pasture composition may have long-term benefits with respect to erosion control, nutrient cycling, hydrological function and the stability of animal production at the cell grazed sites.

© ARS 1996

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