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Know the West

Quivira Coalition needs science-based grazing

  I was pleased to see in your recent article about Courtney White and his Quivira Coalition that there are serious questions about the scientific soundness of the livestock-grazing strategy he promotes (HCN, 9/5/05: Rangeland Revival). I fear, however, that your reporter’s use of the term "rest-rotation" to describe this grazing scheme will produce more confusion.

A "rest-rotation" system simply rotates the cattle among various pastures, while giving rest to some pastures. Such systems have been widely used with good success. The grazing scheme pushed by the Quivira Coalition is more accurately described as a "high-intensity, short-duration" system.

The problem with such systems is that they don’t work as well as science-based grazing schemes, wherein the stocking rates and the grazing times are dictated by conservative forage-utilization rates.

Mr. White professes to believe in collaboration, but I wonder how collaborative he’d be if someone wanted to participate in the Quivira Coalition while insisting that the grazing schemes they promote were science-based.

Jeff Burgess
Tempe, Arizona