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Data Extent

27 years of livestock production data under different stocking rate levels at the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center near Streeter, North Dakota

Cattle graze at the NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center

The effects of stocking rate on livestock performance and profitability were monitored on 12 pastures at the Central Grasslands Research Extension Center (CGREC) near Streeter, ND from 1989 through 2015. These data were produced from an investigation of how the impacts of grazing intensity on native range, in addition to an economic component, was included to determine grazing intensity effect on animal production. Cattle were raised at the CGREC or purchased at auction. Livestock cattle breeds are unknown, but can be described as either yearling open heifer, bred heifers or all steers. 1994 was the only year when the herds were mixed sexes. A table of stocking history is available with this data package as a supplemental dataset called: StockingHistory1989-2015.csv. Information on pasture acreage and the proportion of acres in various ecological range sites, as well as stocking rates, are included as supplemental datasets and are called, respectively: Pasture_and_RangeSites.csv and Revised_AUM_Cals.csv
This data package supports papers reporting the response of livestock performance as ADG (average daily weight gain) and production as weight gain per unit land area to cattle grazing on northern mixed-grass prairie in south-central North Dakota that was subsequently invaded by Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) in 1995. Grazing traditionally occurred mid-May until mid-October in 12 pastures, each approximately 30 acres. The goal of managing grazing intensity was to leave a certain percentage of forage produced in that year OR relative to an average year on the pasture. This was achieved by adjusting stocking rate (i.e. number of individuals per area) within each pasture. When necessary as in 2015, animals were supplemented with dried distiller’s grain at .3% of body weight each day. An animal unit month was used to determine stocking rates and is defined as the forage required to sustain a 1,000 lb cow and her calf for one month. This assumes they require 26 lbs/day of forage on a dry matter basis. This forage amount was based on metabolic weight of animals in this study, including a 1200lb cow as 1.147 AUMs and a 700 lb steer or open heifer as.765 AUM. Five grazing intensities included: no grazing, light grazing (1.3 animal unit months [AUM] · ha-1 with 65% of forage left in the fall), moderate grazing (2.7 AUM · ha-1 with 50% of forage left in the fall), heavy grazing (4.4 AUM · ha-1 with 35% of forage left in fall), and extreme grazing (6.9 AUM · ha-1 with 20% of forage left in the fall).

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POINT (-99.447972578076 46.726633400895)
Ag Data Commons
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
The data reported in this study focus on the Missouri Couteau region of the northern Great Plains. The region is characterized by cold winters and warm to hot summers. Most precipitation falls during the growing season which may extend from April to October; however, the frost-free period is generally 124 days (May 17 to September 19).
Temporal Coverage
May 1, 1989 to October 31, 2015
Data Dictionary
Contact Name
Kaplan, Nicole
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:000 - Department of Agriculture - (Primary Program Not Available)
Bureau Code
005:00 - Department of Agriculture