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Monitoring Heifer Grazing Distribution at the Valles Caldera National Preserve

Cibils, Andrés F., Miller, Joshua A., Encinias, A. Manuel, Boykin, Kenneth G., Cooper, Brad F.
Rangelands 2008 v.30 no.6 pp. 19-23
heifers, grazing, spatial distribution, pastures, riparian areas, grazing management, feed supplements, herding, monitoring, collars, global positioning systems, rangelands, conservation areas, New Mexico
The manipulation of livestock grazing patterns on rangelands continues to be a major challenge for range managers throughout the western United States. As evidence, Valles Caldera National Preserve where rangeland management is tailored in meeting the needs and expectations of various stakeholders. The preserve was established by the Valles Caldera Preservation Act of 2000 (VCPA) and this act stipulates that the preserve be operated as a working ranch while preserving its resources in the context of multiple land use and sustained yield. The preserve managers during the 2004 and 2005 put in place a progressive heifer development program, a program that includes offering fee-based grazing to New Mexico livestock producers via a lottery system. The heifers included in the program had never grazed the Valles Caldera before, and had been raised in contrasting environments that provided the additional opportunity to document distribution patterns of same-age animals with vastly different early life experiences.