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Global positioning systems indicate landscape preferences of cattle in the subtropical savannas

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Tomkins, N. and O'Reagain, P. J. (2007) Global positioning systems indicate landscape preferences of cattle in the subtropical savannas. The Rangeland Journal, 29 (2). pp. 217-222.


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ07024

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/RJ07024


Large paddocks, a heterogeneous landscape and widely dispersed water points provide challenges for the sustainable grazing management of northern Australian beef properties. Determining grazing animal distribution and relating this to features in the landscape, including artificial water points, can assist in the sustainable management of these environments. This case study describes the distribution and landscape association of cattle for part of a single wet season. Twelve Brahman cows were fitted with global positioning system (GPS) collars for 8 weeks in a 1530 ha paddock that contained a diversity of land-types and a single artificial water point. Grazing preferences were initially limited to a 250-ha cleared area of clay soil sown with Cenchrus ciliaris. Thereafter, animals moved on to less fertile outlying areas of Eucalyptus and Acacia agyrodendron native pasture woodland. Mean convex polygon, the smallest polygon that contained 90% of positional data, increased from 229 ± 37.6 ha to 449 ± 80.3 ha over the first 3 weeks of the study. Animals avoided areas dominated by steep terrain and the preference index (proportion of GPS locations that occurred in a land-type divided by its relative cover) was less than unity for 71% of the paddock area. Although the performance of the GPS units was disappointing, the study verifies that GPS telemetry and satellite imagery can be used to quantify cattle distribution and probable grazing preferences in the extensive, spatially heterogeneous paddocks of northern Australia.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version is available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:grazing distribution, satellite imagery, sustainability, telemetry, preference index.
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia > Queensland
Live Archive:25 Oct 2021 06:16
Last Modified:25 Oct 2021 06:16

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