Impact of Grazing Management on Cattle Distribution and Physical Characteristics of the Riparian Zones of Pastures
Grazing management practices that allow cattle to congregate near pasture streams may result in the loss of vegetative cover and accumulation of manure near pasture streams. These conditions may cause loading of the streams with sediment, phosphorus, and pathogens carried in surface runoff. The loss of vegetation and increased compaction associated with concentrated cattle traffic may promote stream bank erosion causing further impairment of stream water quality. The objectives of the current study were 1) to evaluate cattle distribution patterns, in relation to a pasture stream/pond and 2)to evaluate the effects of stocking rate and the botanical composition of the pastures’ riparian zone on the forage sward height and the proportions of bare and manure-covered ground along the banks of pasture streams.