body condition score, conception rate, continuous stocking, litter cover, species composition


Even though Kansas native rangelands often have steep slopes or shallow soils not conducive to many other uses other than livestock grazing, native rangeland and peren­nial grassland acres in Kansas have been declining. Cropland acreage over this same time frame has increased, and so has rangeland fragmentation into small ranchettes and urbanization. Producers may be looking to increase production efficiency on a shrink­ing forage land base. The use of intensive early stocking (IES) is one the most efficient stocking strategies to produce beef on rangeland acres. The IES strategy has been widely used in eastern Kansas and is capable of increasing beef production by 30-40% com­pared to continuous season long stocking (SLS). In western Kansas, IES and continuous SLS have resulted in similar beef production. However, a modified IES (MIES) system, which combines greater early season animal density on high-quality forage of IES, and late season individual animal selectivity for a high-quality diet of SLS, has increased beef production by 26% compared to continuous SLS alone on western Kansas rangelands. Even with this significant increase in production efficiency, stocker production is largely overshadowed by cow/calf production in terms of acres grazed in western Kansas. The question then arises, can the efficiencies of greater beef stocker production from modi­fied IES be utilized with reproductive animals of the cow/calf production system? The purpose of this study was to compare the use of continuous SLS and MIES in a replace­ment heifer system for western Kansas.


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