Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rains reopen grassland for foraging

Recent rains have led to improved forage conditions on the Pawnee National Grassland in rural Weld County, allowing more cattle that were removed earlier this summer to return to graze. Because of drought conditions, 12 of 76 grazing allotments on the Pawnee National Grassland were vacated this summer, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Cattle were removed when forage dropped below 300 pounds per acre, a standard used for range management to provide sustainable grazing, habitat and forage for other grassland animals, the Forest Service said. The number of cattle returned to each allotment is less than 100 percent, but still provides relief for those with grazing permits, said the Forest Service. The two remaining allotments are vacant because of low forage production. On other Pawnee National Grassland allotments, cattle will remain unless available forage drops below 300 pounds per acre or will be removed in the fall at the end of the grazing season.

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