Targeted Grazing

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Conditions favoring cheatgrass dominance of endangered sagebrush steppe ecosystems

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Grazing exacerbates Bromus tectorum dominance in one of North America’s most endangered ecosystems by adversely impacting key mechanisms mediating resistance to invasion. If the goal is to conserve and restore resistance of these systems, managers should consider maintaining or restoring: (i) high bunchgrass cover and structure characterized by spatially dispersed bunchgrasses and small gaps between them; (ii) a diverse assemblage of bunchgrass species to maximize competitive interactions with B. tectorum in time and space; and (iii) biological soil crusts to limit B. tectorum establishment. Passive restoration by reducing cumulative cattle grazing may be one of the most effective means of achieving these three goals.

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Targeted grazing: Applying the research to the land

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This article highlights the experiences and observations of the contributing contract graziers and agency land managers. The contract graziers share their personal knowledge of providing land services in a diverse array of situations, from small, rigorously managed parcels to watershed-scale projects. They expound on the immense planning, preparation, and oversight necessary to successfully conduct a vegetation management contract, as well as the challenges of surviving economically in the industry. Public land managers reveal the challenges of employing targeted grazing on public lands and provide insight on what must be done to make targeted grazing a widely accepted management practice.

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The art and science of targeted grazing – A producer’s perspective

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Flying Mule Farm has provided targeted grazing services for small- to medium-sized (under 250 acres) projects in the Sierra foothills since 2008. We have also worked with several large targeted grazing contractors to manage large scale projects in the foothills and the Sacramento Valley. We have found that combining the scientific underpinnings of range science with the art of managing livestock, ecological processes, and human beings makes the business of targeted grazing uniquely challenging.

A wrench inside a cog

Society for Range Management’s Targeted Grazing website

The SRM Targeted Grazing website provides access to:

  • Trainings and events
  • Videos
  • Grazing prescriptions
  • other resources.

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