Q:

What are the effects of overgrazng?

A:

Overgrazing can reduce edible plant life in an area, cause weeds to become more prevalent and can cause erosion of the soil. This phenomena is usually the result of too many animals living and eating in one location, but it can also be caused by poorly managed farming methods.

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There are many signs that an area is suffering from overgrazing, including animals running out of palatable food. Overgrazed pastures feature a variety of short grass species including blue grass instead of orchard grass and other more appealing tall grasses. When this happens, livestock is usually fed supplements of hay throughout the year.

Livestock that has been forced to feed in a pasture area that has been overgrazed tends to not gain as much weight as they should going into the cooler months. As a result, it is harder to keep the livestock healthy during low temperatures.

Overgrazing can be corrected with replanting and an application of lime and a variety of fertilizers. It can take many years for soil to replace the organic materials needed to grow tall grasses and to repair the damage done by overgrazing. One way to prevent overgrazing from occurring is to make sure livestock are rotated in different pastures throughout the year.

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