Evaluating mob stocking for beef cattle in a temperate grassland

Autoři: Benjamin F. Tracy aff001;  Robert B. Bauer aff001
Působiště autorů: School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, United States of America aff001
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226360


Mob stocking is a type of livestock management method where high densities of animals are restricted to a small area of grassland for short periods of time (e.g., 12–24 hr.) before being moved to new forage. Use of mob stocking has generated considerable interest among forage-livestock professionals in recent years, but questions remain about its purported benefits to cattle and forage plants. To address questions about the possible benefits of mob stocking, a 3-yr study (2014–2016) was conducted in Virginia, USA comparing mob, rotational, and continuous stocking methods in a temperate grassland common to that region. The main objective of this study was to evaluate how mob-stocking management affected selected forage variables, cattle performance, and legume/weed abundance. Herbage mass and nutritive value were measured monthly. Cow and calf weights and body condition score (BCS) were used as indicators of animal performance. Legumes (red and white clover) were over-seeded prior to the study, and their abundance along with weeds were evaluated annually thereafter. Mean herbage mass and forage nutritive values were similar across mob, rotational and continuously stocked systems despite extra-long rest periods that allowed grasses to grow tall and over-mature under mob stocking. Cow weights going into winter were lower (P < 0.05) under mob stocking (619 kg) compared with continuous stocking (688 kg) possibly because many tall grasses were trampled and not grazed. Lastly, we found mob stocking can favor establishment of erect-growing red clover (Trifolium pretense L.), but it had no effect on weed abundance. Overall, we found few compelling reasons why mob stocking should be adopted for season-long forage and livestock production over other stocking methods in this environment.

Klíčová slova:

Cattle – Grasses – Grazing – Livestock – Livestock care – Seasons – Spring – Weeds


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2019 Číslo 12
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