Continuous grazing systems (CGS) still are a common method for managing cattle herds in Southwestern Alps. In the last three years, Pastoral Plans have been implemented as a management tool to enhance cattle use of pastures. By introducing rotational grazing they should improve the distribution of stocking density, which should increase the exploitation of steep areas traditionally undergrazed under CGS, and may preserve open habitats with high biodiversity consequently. A case study was conducted to compare spatial selection of beef cows under CGS in 2010 and a rotational grazing system (RGS) introduced in 2012. During the summer grazing seasons of 2010 and 2012, 6 and 13 cows, respectively, were tracked with GPS collars on sub-alpine and alpine pastures in a 1200 ha study area within Val Troncea Natural Park. Spatial use by cattle was clustered in both grazing systems, but in the RGS concentration of grazing was less intense, with cattle exploiting steeper slopes. Selection of vegetation was more heterogeneous in CGS than in RGS, with meso-eutrophic and snow-bed vegetative communities being the most preferred. Pasture use was affected (P < 0.05) by proximity to salt placement areas, slope, and pastoral forage value in CGS, whereas in the RGS it was affected (P < 0.05) by proximity to water, slope, and salt placement areas. Repeated measure analyses demonstrated changes in cattle use of slopes, areas near salt, and pastoral forage value during the grazing season in the CGS. In the RGS, cows used steeper areas with lower pastoral values in the second half of the grazing period within an enclosure compared to the first half, which likely explains the improvement in uniformity of grazing with RGS. Based on this case study, Pastoral Plans and RGS appear to be valid policy tools to improve grazing management in the Southwestern Alps

A case study evaluating Pastoral Plans in the southwestern Alps: continuous versus rotational grazing.

PROBO, MASSIMILIANO;LONATI, MICHELE;PITTARELLO, MARCO;GARBARINO, MATTEO;GORLIER, Alessandra;LOMBARDI, Giampiero
2014

Abstract

Continuous grazing systems (CGS) still are a common method for managing cattle herds in Southwestern Alps. In the last three years, Pastoral Plans have been implemented as a management tool to enhance cattle use of pastures. By introducing rotational grazing they should improve the distribution of stocking density, which should increase the exploitation of steep areas traditionally undergrazed under CGS, and may preserve open habitats with high biodiversity consequently. A case study was conducted to compare spatial selection of beef cows under CGS in 2010 and a rotational grazing system (RGS) introduced in 2012. During the summer grazing seasons of 2010 and 2012, 6 and 13 cows, respectively, were tracked with GPS collars on sub-alpine and alpine pastures in a 1200 ha study area within Val Troncea Natural Park. Spatial use by cattle was clustered in both grazing systems, but in the RGS concentration of grazing was less intense, with cattle exploiting steeper slopes. Selection of vegetation was more heterogeneous in CGS than in RGS, with meso-eutrophic and snow-bed vegetative communities being the most preferred. Pasture use was affected (P < 0.05) by proximity to salt placement areas, slope, and pastoral forage value in CGS, whereas in the RGS it was affected (P < 0.05) by proximity to water, slope, and salt placement areas. Repeated measure analyses demonstrated changes in cattle use of slopes, areas near salt, and pastoral forage value during the grazing season in the CGS. In the RGS, cows used steeper areas with lower pastoral values in the second half of the grazing period within an enclosure compared to the first half, which likely explains the improvement in uniformity of grazing with RGS. Based on this case study, Pastoral Plans and RGS appear to be valid policy tools to improve grazing management in the Southwestern Alps
Society for Range Management 67th Annual International Meeting
Orlando, Florida
February 8-13, 2014
Proceedings of the Society for Range Management 67th Annual International Meeting
Society for Range Management
15
15
Massimiliano Probo; Michele Lonati; Marco Pittarello; Derek W. Bailey; Matteo Garbarino; Alessandra Gorlier; Giampiero Lombardi
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/149697
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