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Economic feasibility of mixed-species grazing to improve rangeland productivity

Hintze, Kayla Marie
Pasture and grazing land in the southern and central Great Plains is being invaded by woody species, especially eastern redcedar. As a result of woody plant encroachment, cattle production on native rangeland is becoming less profitable because stocking rates must be decreased. Eastern redcedar encroachment can be controlled by grazing management, herbicide use, prescribed fire, mechanical control and mixed-species grazing. This study utilizes traditional management practices, prescribed fire and three types of mixed species grazing operations to determine the most economically feasible way to manage red cedar encroachment on rangeland.
The cost-benefit analysis in this study found that the most profitable source of redcedar management on rangeland was the use of a breeding goat operation in which goats were grazed alongside cattle with the use of prescribed fire. This suggests that producers who are fighting red cedar encroachment will likely be able to implement a mixed species grazing operation with breeding goats to better manage their land and increase returns.