Cattle grazing habits and movements related to riparian habitats and forested ranges with inference to acute dietary bovine pulmonary emphysema (ADBPE) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/v979v695j

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  • Grazing on the mountainous forested ranges of the Camp Creek Unit, Malhuer National Forest, was typified by irregular distribution of free-ranging cattle. A combination of management and physical, topographic constraints caused cattle to concentrate on the riparian zone early in the grazing season in 1977 and 1978. A large percentage of cattle days and vegetation utilization on the riparian zone occurred in the first four weeks. Utilization on herbaceous vegetation was moderately heavy, 76 and 72 percent in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Impact of grazing on the most prevalent herbaceous species, Kentucky bluegrass, was minimal. Shrub use was greatest when herbaceous vegetation was more mature and less succulent. Utilization of major shrubs was not excessive in either year, and likely had no long term affects on either the abundance or vigor of the shrubs. There were no substantial physical impacts of the livestock on the unit, including the stream channel. Environmental and topographic parameters were analyzed to establish causes of cattle behavioral responses. Distinct home range groups of cattle were identified through examination of quantity and pattern of forage use, cattle distribution, herd social structure and cattle activities. The home range of one group encompassed only upland areas. Water and vegetation type were important parameters in determining area and degree of use. Vertical distance above water was the most important factor in determining vegetation utilization on moderately steep slopes. Time after sunrise and relative humidity factors were key parameters in determining kind of cattle activity and timing of the activity. Cattle grazing the research unit had a history of ADBPE when grazed in the rotation used during the study. Typically, 2-4 cows died of ADBPE each time this rotation was followed. Only one such acute case of ADBPE developed during this study. Conditions in both years minimized the expected incidence of the disease. In 1977, a major drought caused vegetation on the unit, where emphysema was expected to occur, to be very dry. A large number of dry cows and late season precipitation in 1978 altered cattle grazing patterns reducing the chance of ADBPE. In both years, only a small proportion of the herd was comprised of highly susceptible animals. These combined factors reduced the probability of the incidence of ADBPE in the study herd.
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