Effects of traditional salt placement (TS) and strategically placed mineral mix supplements (MMS) on cattle distribution were compared in the Italian Alps. Salt was placed within flat and herbaceous sites following the traditional method of farmers, whereas MMS blocks were placed on steep and shrub-encroached sites within three large pastures (44 ha on average). Each TS and MMS site was paired with a control site, and eleven cows were tracked with GPS collars. Within 10 and 50 m of TS and MMS, treatment sites were used more than control sites (P < 0 05). No differences were detected (P > 0 05) in the number of visits by cows within 10 and 50 m of TS and MMS placements. No differences were detected in time spent within 10 m of TS and MMS placements, but cows spent more time (P < 0 05) within 50 m of TS. With either TS or MMS, cattle preferred areas with gentler terrain, higher forage pastoral value and closer to water (P < 0 001). When MMS was available cattle also preferred areas near MMS (P < 0 001) compared to control areas. Shrub and herbaceous cover decreased near MMS placements (P < 0 05) from cattle grazing and trampling. Placement of MMS is a promising tool to enhance cattle distribution and potentially reduce shrub encroachment in rugged mountain pastures.

Effects of traditional salt placement and strategically placed mineral mix supplements on cattle distribution in the Western Italian Alps

PITTARELLO, MARCO;PROBO, MASSIMILIANO;LONATI, MICHELE;LOMBARDI, Giampiero
Last
2016

Abstract

Effects of traditional salt placement (TS) and strategically placed mineral mix supplements (MMS) on cattle distribution were compared in the Italian Alps. Salt was placed within flat and herbaceous sites following the traditional method of farmers, whereas MMS blocks were placed on steep and shrub-encroached sites within three large pastures (44 ha on average). Each TS and MMS site was paired with a control site, and eleven cows were tracked with GPS collars. Within 10 and 50 m of TS and MMS, treatment sites were used more than control sites (P < 0 05). No differences were detected (P > 0 05) in the number of visits by cows within 10 and 50 m of TS and MMS placements. No differences were detected in time spent within 10 m of TS and MMS placements, but cows spent more time (P < 0 05) within 50 m of TS. With either TS or MMS, cattle preferred areas with gentler terrain, higher forage pastoral value and closer to water (P < 0 001). When MMS was available cattle also preferred areas near MMS (P < 0 001) compared to control areas. Shrub and herbaceous cover decreased near MMS placements (P < 0 05) from cattle grazing and trampling. Placement of MMS is a promising tool to enhance cattle distribution and potentially reduce shrub encroachment in rugged mountain pastures.
71
529
539
Alps, beef cows, global positioning systemtracking, grassland restoration, grazing patterns, rotational grazing system
Pittarello M; Probo M; Lonati M; Bailey D W; Lombardi G
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1525669
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