You’ve no doubt heard about the “Birds and the Bees.” A study at Iowa State University looked at the “Birds and the Beef.” I-S-U Extension wildlife specialist Jim Pease says they studied ways to rotate pasture use by cattle to improve the habitat for birds. Pease says they know that cattle tramping through pastures don’t benefit birds. He says you generally get low bird production and usage by birds, as there’s a lot of trampling of the ground nests the birds produce. Pease says they studied a rotation that moved the cattle where warm weather grasses flourished in the summer, and then moved them to where cool weather grasses grew better in cool conditions. Pease says the birds took notice when the cattle were present.He says they quickly left when the cattle were moved in, but were able to use them effectively after the cattle were rotated out. He says both cool-season and warm-season grass pastures attracted birds. He says they found some 36 species of birds using the pastures. Pease says one of the biggest factors in making the rotation work is good fencing, and water. He says they hope to expand the study this year in an area where they can test the viability of piping in water.He says they want to do that to be able to have a variety of paddocks on areas that had open grazing before. Pease says the initial study shows that birds and beef can co-exist with a little planning by farmers.
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