Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R1997



Summary and Implications

In 2001 (yr 1), 2002 (yr 2), and 2003 (yr 3), three blocks of five 1-ac paddocks were grazed by beef cows on hills at the Iowa State University Rhodes Research and Demonstration Farm to determine the effects of grazing management on phosphorus (P) and sediment runoff from pastureland. Grazing management treatments included an ungrazed control (UG), summer hay harvest with winter stockpiled grazing (HS), grazing by continuous stocking to a residual sward height of 2 in. (2C), rotational stocking to a residual sward height of 2 in. (2R), and rotational stocking to a residual sward height of 4 in (4R). At four times (late spring, mid-summer, early autumn, and early the subsequent spring) in each year, rainfall simulations were conducted at 6 sites within each paddock. Rainfall simulators dripped at a rate of 2.8 in./hr over a 5.4-ft2 area for a period of 1.5 hours. Runoff was collected and analyzed for total sediment, total P, and total soluble P. Simultaneous to each rainfall simulation, ground cover, penetration resistance, surface roughness, slope, the contents of P and moisture of the soil, sward height and forage mass were measured. Sediment flow was not affected by forage management practice. There was no difference between UG, HS, 4R in the amount of total P or soluble P lost in runoff, but greater amounts of total and soluble P were lost from 2C and 2R than from the other management practices (P<0.05). A greater amount of sediment was lost from the pastures during the late spring period than during other parts of the year (P<0.05). Losses of sediment, total P, and soluble P from pastures can be controlled by suitable grazing management practices.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University