Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Riparian Areas of South Dakota
Riparian Management Practices
Wintering and Calving Pastures
Pastures where livestock are held or "parked" for prolonged periods,
such as winter feeding or calving, and where supplemental feeding is
normally provided may be a challenge for good riparian management.
Riparian areas provide shelter topography and/or wooded cover.
- Wintering or calving pastures in riparian areas can experience serious
livestock impacts due to trampling of banks and intensive use of herbaceous
and woody plants. Repeated, heavy use will threaten the woody plants
that are vital for livestock shelter.
- Cattle browsing may damage woody sprouts and saplings that must
be allowed to "release" and replace older trees or shrubs that age
- Sustainable livestock shelter depends on tree and shrub replacement.
When can holding pastures work?
Holding pastures are hard to manage. The first step in successful management
of these pastures is recognizing that livestock shelter and stable banks
are the first priorities.
In order for riparian areas to be maintained within holding pastures:
- Don't regard the vegetation in a holding pasture as forage. Provide
adequate supplemental feed although sometimes livestock will still
prefer native vegetation over supplemental feeds.
- Provide ease of access for livestock to water, preferably out of
- Direct herd pressure to the most resistant areas of the field through
placement of supplements.
- Monitor livestock use of woody regrowth. Provide more rest if tree
replacement is suppressed.
- Consider reducing the size and increasing the number of holding
pastures to control the time spent in each pasture.
Develop multiple pastures, vary season of use, and/or rest pastures. Limit
the time livestock spends in riparian areas.
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