Publication Date

5-2011

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Paul Woosley (Director), Dr. Elmer Gray, Dr. Linda Gonzales

Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science

Abstract

Multispecies grazing research was conducted using meat-type goats (Capra hircus L.) and Jersey heifers (Bos taurus L.) to determine the relationships between multiple grazing treatments and pasture utilization. The study was conducted for 60 days on the Western Kentucky University Farm in Bowling Green, KY. Cattle and goats have shown to differ in grazing preferences and to be economically important to the area. Grazing treatments included goats and cattle grazing simultaneously, sequentially, and goats grazing alone. A typical established Kentucky pasture was utilized with no weed management practices employed. Predominant forage species included tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.), and white clover (Trifolium repens L.). Exclosures were utilized as controls. Data included forage quality, composition, availability, height, visual weed cover and live ground cover, and thistle consumption, collected every 15 days.

Results indicated a significant difference in sample dry weights between grazing treatments and ungrazed controls in every treatment except when goats followed cattle. At day 60, grazed areas had significantly lower forage heights than the control when goats grazed with and before cattle. Instances where goats followed cattle resulted in significantly higher NDF compared to the control. All treatments containing goats had significantly lower leaf numbers per thistle plant (Carduus nutans L.) than cattle only treatment. Based on this study, sequential and simultaneous grazing of cattle and goats may be an effective nodding thistle control strategy, but future experimentation is needed for determination of forage utilization and quality relationships.

Disciplines

Agriculture | Animal Sciences | Other Animal Sciences