BEEF Magazine | Rest-Rotation Grazing Helps Sage Grouse Survival

October 16, 2017

Rested pastures with plentiful bugs are a good deal for cattle and sage grouse alike

This story appeared Oct. 12 in

Ranchers and other boots-on-the-ground land managers have long known that rotational grazingis a management tool that can improve soil and pasture health. And by improving soil and pasture health, you improve the entire soil and pasture ecosystem, not just grazing.

Now there’s a new study that adds to the body of evidence regarding this truth. Hayes Goosey is leading a unique four-year study near Roundup, Mont., to investigate a key part of sage grouse diet in spring and summer, particularly for the growing chicks. Specifically, he’s looking for arthropods that are important for nutrition: beetles, the larvae of butterfly and moths, grasshoppers and crickets, spiders, and ants.

Preliminary findings of the study after two field seasons reveal that the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) rest-rotation grazing program is working when it comes to boosting the abundance of arthropods. The results show that the rested or deferred pastures host the most arthropods across all species.

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Learn about healthy sagebrush communities >>

The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.