Responses of herbage and cattle tail switch hair ?15N value to long-term stocking rates on a rough fescue grassland

Li, Chunli
Hao, Xiying
Willms, Walter D
Mcallister, Tim A
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Publication Year: 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the response of ?15N in herbage and cattle tail switch hair to long-term grazing pressure on a rough fescue grassland (Festuca campestris Rydb.) near Stavely, Alberta, Canada. Cattle have grazed the paddocks from 15 May to 15 November annually since 1949. Stocking rates were 0, 2.4 and 4.8 animal unit months ha?1 for non-grazing (Control), moderate grazing (MG) and heavy grazing (HG), respectively. Green standing crop (GSC) was sampled monthly throughout the grazing season in 2007. The GSC was fractioned into neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and their total nitrogen (TN) concentration and ?15N values in NDF, ADF and GSC were determined. Tail switch hair samples from cows (>2 years old) and calves (<1 year) were collected at the end of the grazing season in 2007 and 2008 and analysed for ?15N values. The TN concentrations in NDF and ?15N values in herbage NDF and ADF fractions were higher (P?<?0.05) in MG and HG than the Control, and decreased over the grazing season. The ?15N values in tail hair also decreased (P?<?0.05) over the grazing season but were not affected by grazing intensity. However, as expected, ?15N values in tail hair increased with herbage ?15N values. The ?15N values in tail hair were enriched by +5.2‰ compared to herbage ?15N values in 2007. Changes in ?15N value in GSC and cattle hair reflect the influence of grazing practices on N cycles through the animal/plant/soil system on this rough fescue grassland.
Name of Journal: 
Soil Science and Plant Nutrition
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.