New Research: Cattle vs. Wildlife
Posted by Texas Mustang Project on February 22, 2012
PLEASE CROSS POST WHERE APPROPRIATE.
Hey, everyone, check this out. It’s the result of Princeton’s recent research into cattle vs. wildlife. They determined that in a properly managed habitat, the presence of equines can actually improve livestock production. While the article is geared towards food production, it presents an argument that Craig Downer and Mineral County Commissioner Jerrie Tipton have been trying to get people to recognize for years – that in appropriate management models, equines can actually improve rangelands.
Cattle paired with donkeys gained 60 percent more weight than cattle left to graze only with other cows. The conclusion was that the donkeys (used in the trials as they were more tame than zebras or horses) ate the rougher tops of the grasses, leaving the lusher, more digestible portions for the cattle. Furthermore, equines tend to remove the upper dead stem grass layer making lusher grasses more available to cattle.
It seems apparent that the models studied involved animal populations that were kept within the capabilities of the resources available to support them. I would think that overgrazing would not produce the same results.
The study didn’t address the seeding benefits provided by equines but it’s definitely a start. Here’s the report:
Hopefully this study will encourage some broader based thinking with respect to range science – a departure from the “us versus them” standoff – and prompt more research into which models produce benefits for livestock, wildlife, equids, and the public.
Thanks to Carrol Abel for the heads up on this report.