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Project description

The Manipulation of Sheep Grazing Pressure for Weed Control in Seedling Alfalfa. (95FE038)
Program UC IPM competitive research grants program
Principal
investigators
C.E. Bell, Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
J.N. Guerrero, Cooperative Extension, Imperial County
Host/habitat Sheep
Pest Unspecified Weeds
Disciplines Animal Sciences, Weed Science
Beneficial
organism
Sheep
Review
panel
Applied Field Ecology
Start year (duration)  1995 (Two Years)
Objectives To compare different sheep grazing pressures in seedling alfalfa for their effect on weed control, crop yield, crop cover, lamb weight gain, and soil compaction.
Final report The main effects, year, land within year, or cycle, did not affect (P >. 05) lamb weight gain. The grazing pressure treatments did affect (P = .05) lamb weight gain. When lambs were placed in paddocks and grazed the paddocks unimpeded for the 14 to 16 days, they gained more weight (.17 kg/d) than when the same number of lambs grazed the same size paddock divided into eight equal portions (.13 kg/d). There were no differences (P > .05) in lamb average daily gains between the two intermediate grazing pressures, the paddocks halved (.13 kg/d) or split into quarters (.15 kg/d). This research demonstrated that the longer the lambs can selectively graze, lamb average daily gain will increase. Conversely, when grazing selectivity decreased, lamb average daily gain also decreased.

At the first cutting after grazing, there were no differences (P > .10) in hay yields in experimental paddocks between grazing pressure treatments or between the grazed paddocks and ungrazed (P > .10) alfalfa. At the first cutting after grazing, there were no differences (P > .10) in weed DM estimates in experimental paddocks between grazing pressure treatments or between the grazed paddocks and ungrazed (P > .10) alfalfa.

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