Light grazing - is it economically feasible as a range-improvement practice

Klipple, G.E.; Bement, R.E.

Jour Range Management 14(2): 5-62


DOI: 10.2307/3894716
Accession: 014096700

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Light grazing has been recommended for many years as a grazing-management practice to use for improvement of deteriorated native ranges. Little use of the practice has been made by rangeland managers. Doubt as to its economic feasibility frequently is given as a reason for not using it. Several recent grazing-intensity research reports were analyzed as to what range improvement can be expected from light grazing, what forage income it yields as compared to moderate and heavy grazing, and what does it cost to apply it. Light grazing for a few years will effect increased herbage yielding ability of deteriorated range vegetation. Reduction in forage income from light grazing as compared with that from moderate grazing is relatively small. Under a spring purchase and fall sale method of obtaining the use of cattle to harvest forage from deteriorated ranges, stocking rates that make light use of the forage vegetation has a good probability of returning forage incomes as large as stocking rates that would make moderate utilization of the same vegetation during the same grazing period. Light grazing can be applied at much lower costs per acre than alternate procedures that could be applied for improvement of deteriorated native ranges. Light grazing cannot do the job alone on ranges where the deterioration is near the depletion stage. The logical time to apply light grazing is in the early stages of range deterioration. Its application is economically feasible to use to return moderately depleted ranges to their site capacity.