Understanding the preference of cattle for shade and water

Understanding the preference of cattle for shade and water Conference Paper

17th Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference

  • Author(s): G.J. Bishop-Hurley, K. Patison, D.L. Swain, G. Peare, R. Jurdak
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Australian Rangeland Society

Abstract: Natural resource management (NRM) groups have been co-funding the removal of cattle from riparian zones by installing fences and off-stream watering points. Riparian areas provide not only a source of drinking water but also a source of shade and fodder, thus it is not clear how important each of these are. Early work has shown that providing access to off-stream water (e.g. a trough) reduced the amount of time cattle spent in riparian areas by up to 80%, implying that access to water is a major reason why cattle frequent the riparian area but not the sole reason. The objective of this experiment was to compare cattle activity in areas where shade and water are co-located, shade and water are located separately and where water is present without shade to investigate their preference for shade and water. The experiment was conducted at Belmont Research Station (150º 13΄E, 23º8΄S), located 20 km NW of Rockhampton. Water trough and/or shade structure combinations were randomly positioned in the paddocks. Initially, three groups of ten Brahman steers (Bos indicus) were fitted with GPS collars and assigned to one of the three paddocks. All three groups of cattle were moved between the three paddocks during the period from October 2011 to January 2012. Cattle were observed from a distance regularly and had ad-libitum access to grazed forage and trough water throughout the experiment. Preliminary results from the experiment are presented and the implications of these results on riparian zone monitoring work discussed.

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G.J. Bishop-Hurley, K. Patison, D.L. Swain, G. Peare, R. Jurdak, 2012, Understanding the preference of cattle for shade and water, Conference Paper, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3680.

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