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Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 159–168 | Cite as

Cattle distribution and behavior in southern-pine silvopasture versus open-pasture

  • Uma Karki
  • Mary S. GoodmanEmail author
Article

Abstract

Shade present in silvopasture systems could reduce heat stress associated with microclimatic conditions that characterize warm-weather portions of the year on the Coastal Plain of the Southeast USA. Objectives of this research were to: (1) quantify diurnal distribution patterns of landscape use and behavior of cattle in loblolly-pine (Pinus taeda) silvopasture versus open-pasture landscapes, and (2) relate observed differences in landscape use and cattle behavior patterns between the two pastures to differences in microclimatic conditions, and forage quantity and quality. The research was conducted in Chipley, Florida USA within a 5-ha cell of a loblolly-pine-bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) silvopasture (tree age 20 year), and a 5-ha open bahiagrass pasture with unlimited access to an adjacent 1-ha wooded area. One-day observations of diurnal distribution and behavior of cattle were conducted in March, June, and September 2007; microclimatic conditions were measured, and forage quantity and quality were estimated within each landscape. Cattle utilized the landscape more evenly in the silvopasture versus the open-pasture and this difference was mainly attributed to reduced solar radiation recorded in the silvopasture. Grazing was the dominant behavior in the silvopasture while loafing was dominant in the open-pasture. Shade present in silvopasture appeared to reduce heat stress for cattle grazing during warm-weather portions of the year on the Coastal Plain of the Southeast USA. Further study is needed to determine how this reduction in heat stress influences cattle performance in southern-pine silvopasture, and the nature and extent of the interactions among animal distribution and behavior, microclimatic conditions, and forage characteristics in these systems.

Keywords

Forage Grazing Landscape utilization Microclimatic conditions 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the generous cooperation of Mr. George Owens, Owens’ Farm, Chipley Florida for access to his property for location of weather stations and assistance with cattle stocking during observation dates, and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (S-SARE) for financial support.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agronomy and SoilsAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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