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Monday, June 3 • 10:00am - 10:25am
Patch-burn Grazing without Fire LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

The popularity of patch-burn grazing stems largely from the habitat heterogeneity created.  That heterogeneity includes a temporary “weedy recovery” phase as vegetation recovers from a season of intensive grazing.  However, patch-burn grazing typically relies on annual burning (of a portion of a prairie) and an absence of interior fencing.  Those two attributes can reduce the feasibility or attractiveness of patch-burn grazing to many land managers, especially ranchers.  Patch-burn grazing can also potentially put plant species (those most-favored by livestock) at risk of being grazed annually because they are selected regardless of whether they are in a recently-burned patch or not.  We are testing an “open gate rotational grazing system” which can produce similar habitat heterogeneity without relying on regular application of fire.  The system should also help protect plant species popular with livestock because not all of the prairie is exposed to grazing at the same time.  Any pasture with three or more paddocks can be grazed with this approach.  Livestock start in one paddock and then are allowed access to more and more paddocks during the season – without ever closing gates behind them.  The result is that some paddocks are grazed intensively all season while others are moderately or lightly grazed, and for only part of the season.  Paddocks grazed most intensively one year can be completely excluded from grazing the next, or until fully recovered.  Prescribed fire can still be incorporated, but is not required at any particular frequency.  

avatar for Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer

Director of Science, TNC-Nebraska, The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska
Chris Helzer is The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Science in Nebraska. His main role is toevaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration workand share those lessons with other ranchers, farmers, and other land managers. He also worksto raise... Read More →

Monday June 3, 2019 10:00am - 10:25am CDT
Room 1418, The Forest Room