hillside grazing beef cattle Photo: Douglas McCreary/UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center.
A University of California-Davis researcher is helping to develop a genetic test that will aid ranchers in breeding cattle that prefer to graze on hillsides, alleviating pressure on lowland meadows and creeks.

Genetic test possible for hillside-preferring cows

Hillside grazing alleviates pressures on lowland meadows and streams, which could help improve rangeland management.

Most of the 5 million cattle that graze on California’s rangelands like to forage in the valleys and hang out by creeks, which can lead to overgrazing in riparian areas while letting perfectly good forage on hillsides go to waste.

However, some cows prefer to climb hills and mountains and eat along the way. If more cattle climbed the trail less traveled, rangelands would be more productive and sustainable throughout California and the West, according to the University of Califor

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