Why do some horses look like cows?

7.2 Grazing with cattle


Cattle are the first choice for many grazing projects, both in dry and damp habitats, due to the low-cost fencing and the less selective browsing, whereby the question of breed is secondary. Problems can arise in habitats where soil damage is undesirable. If necessary, young cattle of light breeds or dwarf breeds should be used here. Cattle often do not adequately contain emerging trees. The combination of cattle with other animal species is ideal (e.g. goats to reduce woodland).

Heck cattle with calf in the Lippeauen (North Rhine-Westphalia).
Photo: Andreas Zahn.

Information relevant to nature conservation on the biology, behavior and usage history of domestic cattle

It is believed that domestic cattle were domesticated in the Middle East from the form of the aurochs (Bos taurus) that lived there and introduced into Central Europe around 8,000 years ago (EDWARDS et al. 2007). Zebus were bred from an older Asian form of the aurochs, the Indian aurochs (Bos primigenius namadicus). Cattle were often used not only for milk and meat production, but also as draft animals. Until well into the 20th century, they were usually much smaller and lighter than today's high-performance breeds. It was not until the middle of the 19th century that targeted breeding with differentiated breeding goals began (LUICK 1997). Advances in breeding and feeding (grass and maize silage or rapeseed and soy meal) have greatly increased the meat and milk yield of many breeds (with peak values ​​of over 10,000 l milk per cow and year). Most breeds focus on either milk or meat production. Only a few, such as the Bavarian Fleckvieh or Murnau-Werdenfelser, are considered dual-purpose breeds in which milk and meat production play an equally important role.

Suckler cow husbandry is the most widespread form of cattle husbandry worldwide. Since the milk quota was set in 1984, it has experienced a stronger boom in Germany than an extensive form of meat production. The calf stays with the cow until it is 6 to 10 months old. Male animals are then kept separately as bulls or oxen until they are ready for slaughter. The social structure of these herds comes very close to that of wild cattle.

Domestic cattle living in the wild usually live separately according to sex. Adult bulls form territorial groups or live solitary; cows and their offspring also form groups (BUNZEL-DRÜKE et al. 2008). TOST (2000) was also able to observe herds of cows with their offspring and a dominant alpha bull as well as a few other adult bulls. Cattle quickly feral and quickly become shy without regular bait feeding. When cornered, they can attack people.

As ruminants, cattle make far better use of their food than horses, for example. Their multi-part stomach enables them, through microbial digestion, to use carbohydrates as food that other mammals with only one stomach can hardly use (e.g. cellulose).

Eating behavior of cattle

The choice of food for cattle, for example, compared to that of sheep, is not very selective and includes a rich spectrum of grasses, herbaceous plants and woody plants (detailed information in BUNZEL-DRÜKE et al. 2008; PORZIG & SAMBRAUS 1991; STROH et al. 2004 ). They cannot eat the grass for as short a time as horses or sheep because they grasp it with their tongue and tear it off on the chewing plate (sheep and horses bite it with their front teeth and can thus also grasp deeper parts of the plant). The (seasonally varying) content of nutrients of the individual species, but also their availability (which can be quickly absorbed in large quantities) have a strong influence on the choice of food (MEISSER et al. 2009), as well as presumably individual experiences. This explains why studies sometimes come to very different results.

Some plant species (for example nettles, rushes, Indian balsam or certain thistles or woody plants) are also only eaten at certain ages or at certain times of the year (ZAHN et al. 2003; GÜSEWELL et al. 2007). This can often give the impression that some species are being avoided completely. Many trees and shrubs only eat leaves or young shoots and the intensity of browsing depends heavily on what is available. Spruces and pines are only bitten on some pastures. Even tasty plant species survive on under-grazed areas as long as they are not too common in areas less frequented by cattle. On the other hand, even generally avoided species are bitten as young plants in the areas created and preserved by the cattle with low-growing pasture lawns (ZAHN et al. 2003). The vegetation is not eaten in the vicinity of the dung pile ("hot spots"). Trees (especially pastures) are peeled intensively by cattle on some pastures, but never on others. This presumably depends, among other things, on the time of grazing and the supply of certain minerals (ZAHN et al. 2002). Cattle with large horns often push down young trees to get to the leaves. This can be used to reduce wood growth. In winter, cattle do not scratch for food like horses in the snow (BUNZEL-DRÜKE et al. 2008).

Influence of cattle grazing on flora, vegetation and landscape

In Bavaria, many valuable landscape types, such as alpine pastures or alpine pastures, were traditionally grazed by cattle and the continuation of this form of use on an extensive basis is the best method for their preservation (RINGLER 2009). Especially for young cattle who get by with less good feed and do not have to be driven into the barn every day, there are still small-scale pastures all over Bavaria, for example on the slopes of the stream and river valleys. These are often the last remnants of extensively used grassland in areas dominated by arable farming.

Compared to fallow cattle grazing, the diversity of flora and fauna increases (ZAHN et al. 2000, 2007) and extensively grazed woody areas often prove to be valuable in terms of nature conservation (SCHLEY & LEYTEM 2004; RINGLER 2009). According to these authors, with an appropriate grazing regime, plant species that are highly endangered or considered to be sensitive to grazing can also be encouraged by cattle grazing. Examples are:

  • Caryophyllea (Aira caryophyllea)
  • Creeping Scheiberich (Apium repens
  • Arnica (arnica montana)
  • Orchids (Dactylorhiza spec.)
  • Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)
  • Bee ragwort (Ophrys apifera)
  • Marsh blood eye (Potentilla palustris)
  • Schildehrenpreis (Veronica scutellata)

Many perennials in the wetlands with attractive flowers, such as purple loosestrife or mint, are avoided by cattle, which favors the visual appearance of such pastures. On hay meadows that are very rich in flowers and species, however, species depletion sometimes occurs after switching to cattle grazing (FISCHER & WIPF 2002). In addition, the flowering aspect typical of meadows is usually missing, as grazing affects the development of inflorescences of many species. Compared to sheep pastures, however, cattle pastures are usually much richer in flowers and species (KÖNIG 1994; SCHIESS & MARTIN 2008). Inflorescences of gentians and orchids are often spared (MARTIN 1997).

Compared to lighter grazing animals such as sheep, cattle are expected to have a higher footfall. This may be desirable in some habitats (sandy areas, gravel pits), but is associated with erosion problems on steep slopes. The step sometimes also leads to the decline of plant species that are only partially eaten (nettle). Since cattle like to eat important reed species such as reeds (Phragmites australis), reed grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and cattails (Typha spec.) And also visit shallow water areas up to a depth of around 50 cm, they are very suitable for keeping open , low vegetation river banks and to open monotonous reed beds. On the other hand, smaller reed areas on cattle pastures are destroyed and may have to be fenced off (ZAHN et al. 2002, 2004).

Smaller stands of wood used by the cattle as shelters are heavily thinned out by eating the leaves up to a height of 1.5 to 2 m. Only bad-tasting or thorny species (hawthorn) remain leafy even below this limit (feeding edge). When cattle peel, large areas of softwood can be thinned or even made to die. Reinforced species such as hawthorn (Crataegus spec.) Or less tasty species - such as black alder (Alnus glutinosa) or birch (Betula spec.) - are preserved and often spread. Grazing in the winter half-year or a paddock usually increase the tree bite (BUNZEL-DRÜKE et al. 2008; MEISSNER et al. 2009). Stick rashes of many species are eaten with pleasure. Trees placed on the hive often die as a result, at least in the areas frequently used by cattle. In some cases, this even applies to species such as alder that are not eaten per se (Alnus spec .; ZAHN et al. 2002).

Since cattle often rest in wooded areas, but graze in open land, nutrients are released from the open land. In wet areas, nutrients are also shifted to drier areas, as the animals rest here more often than in wet areas (SCHEICH 2009). In a direct comparison, cattle used more humid areas than sheep (PUTFARKEN et al. 2008).

Areas with a low feed value (for example nutrient-poor bogs) are rarely bitten by cattle as long as “better” pastures are available (SCHRAUTZER et al. 2004). Even in small areas, cattle eat the growth unevenly. A mosaic of constantly eaten, short pasture lawns and less to hardly eaten areas of high (often nutrient-poor or less tasty) vegetation emerges on under-grazed standing pastures without aftermath (BOKDAM 2003). Once established, these structures change little over the years (ZAHN et al. 2003). On such areas it is shown that cattle, where they frequently stay, can very well prevent the emergence of young woody approaches (with the exception of certain armed species). In less frequented areas, however, even tree species that are eaten with pleasure grow up if there are many seedlings. The germination of woody plants is even promoted by the open ground areas that arise (VAAS et al. 2007).

Murnau-Werdenfelser in the Isar floodplains between Schäftlarn and Bad Tölz (Bad Tölz district). Grazing increases the diversity of species in the herb layer.
Photo: Andreas Zahn.

Influence of cattle grazing on fauna

On cattle pastures with high stocking densities and short periods of stocking (rotation pasture), the effects of browsing are comparable to those of mowing, i.e. the population of invertebrates is significantly reduced by grazing. Extensive standing pastures, on the other hand, have a rich habitat mosaic with a diverse fauna if pasture maintenance (with the exception of woody reduction) is largely dispensed with. Large insects such as grasshoppers in particular are comparatively common on such areas (ZAHN et al. 2000, 2010; SCHLEY & LEYTEM 2004). The biodiversity of many insect groups and spiders is higher on extensive cattle pastures than on fallow land and often higher than on hay meadows (LUICK 1996; SCHMID et al. 2001; SCHLEY & LEYTEM 2004; ZAHN et al. 2007, 2010).

If structures such as piles of branches and stones or islets are tolerated to a large extent in the pasture, optimal habitats for reptiles such as the sand lizard are created (ZAHN et al. 2000). Grazing in small bodies of water favors the reproduction of pioneer species such as the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata; Zahn et al. 2015). By grazing the open banks of larger bodies of water, these are used by many Limikolen for foraging. The grazing lawns created by cattle also offer birds such as the red-backed bird ideal habitats for hunting and at the same time represent a protein-rich food source for geese (SCHLEY & LEYTEM 2004; ZAHN et al. 2004).

With extensive grazing, meadow breeders can reproduce successfully on cattle pastures (MÜLLER et al. 2006). Curlews, for example, defend their eggs and partridges find suitable nesting sites (if they do not mow down afterwards) in the pasture areas with higher, overgrown vegetation that cattle avoid.

According to SCHLEY & LEYTEM 2004, extensive cattle grazing on previously intensively used or fallow areas enables, among other things, breeding of the following bird species:

  • Marsh Warbler (Acrocephalus palustris)
  • Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
  • Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
  • Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
  • Corn Corn (Crex crex)
  • Reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)
  • Common Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
  • Feldschwirl (Locustella naevia)
  • Yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava)
  • Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
  • Blackcap (Sylvia communis)
  • Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

The structural wealth and the good food supply are held responsible for this. For species such as the hoopoe (Upupa epops), the insect species that live in the dung and the large locusts that are adapted to uneven vegetation structures are important food resources. The little owl (Athene noctua) also benefits from the vegetation mosaic of extensive cattle pastures, in which one also finds short-grass grassland, which is an important prerequisite for catching prey of this species (REISINGER 2002). Grazing forms that largely eliminate the growth during the breeding season (e.g. winter grazing), however, have a negative effect on many bird species that breed in shrubbery, so that the fencing of partial areas (rotating fallow land) makes sense.

Recommended pasture management for cattle pastures

In the case of traditional pasture areas, it is usually sufficient to continue the previous usage regime, but it may be necessary to check and adapt the stocking density and the situation of certain small structures such as ponds or springs. If cattle-rich, previously mowed areas are to be grazed with cattle, then it makes sense to stop grazing from late spring to early summer. After that, the growth should be grazed briefly and with a high stocking density so that the cattle do not select much. In such cases it is also possible to switch from pasture to mowing (e.g. to obtain winter fodder). If the flowering aspect or the preservation of certain plant communities is not in the foreground, the extensive standing pasture without parceling the areas represents the most cost-effective form of keeping, which is also preferable in most cases from an animal-ecological perspective. If you want to ensure the protection of meadow breeders in wet grassland, it can make sense to subdivide the pasture into paddocks. Pasture areas with brood occurrences should be digested later.

Apart from the addition of mineral feed, additional feeding on landscape maintenance areas should be avoided during the vegetation period.

From an animal ecological point of view, there should be no after-mowing on the pasture area so that a varied habitat mosaic is created. Pasture residues (i.e. areas with overgrown vegetation that has not been deeply eroded) of up to 40% of the area are desirable. Even if the aftermath is appropriate, for example from a botanical point of view, it can usually be dispensed with, at least in some areas. Structures such as individual trees, groups of trees (not in wet grassland with meadow breeders), branches and piles of stones, hills and hollows are important for the fauna. They should occupy at least 10% of the pasture area (LUICK 2002). It should be checked whether locations with particularly sensitive plant and animal species (e.g. spring swamps) need to be excluded from the pasture area.

The fence should not run along the edge of sensitive locations or habitat types, as the footfall is increased along the fences (VAAS et al. 2007). If overgrown vegetation and woody plants are to be reduced in winter, only little and, if possible, not constantly fed should be fed outside of the growing season.

If cattle are kept outdoors in winter and given additional feed, this should not be done in areas that are valuable in terms of nature conservation. A paved central feeding place and the use of litter can reduce the nutrient input into the areas. Alternatively, the feed can be offered decentrally at changing places in order to prevent selective nutrient pollution (WASSMUTH 2002).

Stocking density and herd management

In suckler cow husbandry, the forage area requirement is 0.75 to 1.2 ha per cow with calf. In landscape management, the population is usually significantly lower (up to around 2 ha) and must be flexibly controlled according to the effects on the areas. As a rough guide, 0.3 to 0.5 GV / ha in particularly weak-growing areas, 0.5 to 0.8 GV / ha for montane regions and 0.8 to 1.5 GV / ha for more productive low-lying areas (LUICK 2002 ). Further details on stocking density are given in the respective chapters on grazing certain habitats.

According to SCHLEY & LEYTEM (2004), several authors report the positive effects of very extensive cattle grazing (0.3 to 0.6 GV / ha) on areas that are sensitive to footfall such as ditch edges and brook banks as well as in forests. Nutrient-rich wet areas are undergrazed with a density of 0.7 to 1.0 GV / ha (standing pasture from April to November) and develop a desired, structurally rich habitat mosaic, whereby emerging woody plants have to be sporadically placed on the cane (ZAHN et al. 2003).

In wilderness and nature development areas, the stocking density depends on the number of animals that can be fed by the area over the winter (without additional feeding).

When using cattle in large natural development areas, the existing social structures should be observed and used when setting up new herds (e.g. relocating social units, using daughters of lead cows as future lead animals, not exclusively using young animals (compare MEISSNER & LIMPENS 2001) When using young cattle on landscape maintenance areas, it may be advisable to use an experienced lead cow in addition to herds of suckler cows and young cattle, groups of bulls or oxen can also be kept.

Which breed of cattle?

In principle, all breeds are suitable for landscape maintenance, but high-performance breeds cannot fully exploit their potential without additional feeding on extensive pastures, and they are more likely to have health problems. In addition, they are usually too heavy, which increases erosion problems on sloping terrain. Since they move less than extensive breeds, they are less mobile in the area and concentrate the effects on the surroundings of the pasture facilities. If better areas are available for the final fattening, keeping a breed with a higher production potential can still make economic sense. The choice of breed also depends on the intended form of marketing. Milk use is rarely possible with extensive grazing. In difficult or climatically rough terrain such as on alpine pastures, cattle have a significantly increased need for maintenance due to the increased movement and the necessary compensation for cold spells, which makes intensive milk or meat production even more difficult (RINGLER 2009).

Young cattle of the intensive breeds can, however, be used for grazing extensive grassland, such as Bavarian Fleckvieh, which is traditionally used on alpine pastures. Most of the beef cattle breeds are more useful for landscape maintenance, whereby suckler cow and bull or ox husbandry have proven themselves. In practice, extensive breeds often show a significantly different feeding behavior than high-performance breeds (VAAS et al. 2007). They use a wider range of food and also bite less tasty species such as tall perennials, sedges and rushes much more heavily. However, it is not entirely clear to what extent these are actually race-specific differences (ROCK et al. 2004). In this respect, the conditions under which the animals grow up are of great importance. In the first year of life, learning and habituation effects with regard to the palatability of food play an important role. You should therefore use animals that have been raised in the open under extensive conditions. Extensive breeds such as Highlands, Galloway or backwoods have proven their worth on extremely poor areas (see Table 1). If the areas are more nutrient-rich, you will achieve a higher meat yield with breeds such as Angus or Limousin or corresponding crossbreeds. Cattle breeds that have become rare such as Pinzgauer, Murnau-Werdenfels or Red Höhenvieh can also be used well. For slopes at risk of erosion, the choice of a light breed (e.g. dwarf zebu, Dexter, Tyrolean gray cattle) should be considered (KIRCHNER-HESSLER & WEHINGER 2001). Good experiences have been made with dwarf zebus on floors that are sensitive to foot traffic (EXNER 1999).

The Heck cattle were bred by the brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck (then heads of the zoos in Berlin and Munich) from the 1920s by crossing original cattle breeds with the aim of obtaining an image of the aurochs. Many Heck cattle are quite similar to aurochs, even if size, stature, horn shape and often also the color still deviate from the ideal. There are still breeding efforts to improve this breed from a visual point of view, whereby attention is also paid to the behavioral characteristics. As many years of experience in Oostvaardersplassen (Netherlands) show, Heck cattle are well suited to being released into the wild and form natural population structures. Heck cattle are therefore a good choice for large wilderness areas where meat use is not a priority. Due to their well-fortified appearance, they are also well suited for "calming" areas. On the other hand, small, calm breeds like the Galloways are ideal for areas that are open to visitors. They are naturally hornless, which makes them very easy to deal with.

Young cattle of the races Tyrolean gray cattle and Bavarian Fleckvieh (here on an alpine pasture on the Großer Ahornboden, Tyrol). The animals were dehorned.
Photo: Andreas Zahn.

According to the State Office for Agriculture, the following indigenous cattle breeds are recognized as endangered in Bavaria:

  • Ansbach-Triesdorfer
  • German Brown Swiss of old breeding direction
  • Yellow cattle
  • Murnau-Werdenfelser
  • Pinzgau old breeding direction
  • Red cattle

Their preservation is promoted through government measures. Can be funded (see URL 2):

  • Keeping cows for which the milk yield test is carried out, at Murnau-Werdenfelser, Pinzgauer, German Brown Swiss of old breeding direction, Ansbach-Triesdorfer cattle and Red Höhenvieh.
  • Keeping suckler cows at Murnau-Werdenfelser, Pinzgauer, Rotem Höhenvieh and German Braunvieh old breeding direction).
  • Keeping young cows of the yellow cattle breed in Bavaria, where the milk performance test is carried out.
  • Keeping of breeding bulls for covering in the natural spring at Murnau-Werdenfelser, Pinzgauer, German Brown Cattle of old breeding direction, Ansbach-Triesdorfer cattle, Red Höhenvieh and yellow cattle.
  • Provision of breeding animals for the production of embryos as part of the breeding program at Murnau-Werdenfelser, Pinzgauer, German Braunvieh old breeding direction, Ansbach-Triesdorf cattle, Red Höhenvieh and yellow cattle.

The keeping of the breed "Pinzgauer" (old breeding direction) is promoted in Bavaria.
Photo: Andreas Zahn.

Simmental cattleSouthern GermanyYes1.100-
xx xxxx
Yellow cattleFrancsYes1.100-
xx xxxxxx
France (Jura) 1.100-
xx xxxxxx
x xxxxxxxxx
Brown Swiss
Alpine region
x xxxxxxxx
Limpurger beefNorth WürttembergYes800-
x xxxxxxxx
Glan beefRhineland-
x xxxxxxxx
Before the-
Black ForestYes800-
x xxxxxxxxxx
LimousinLow mountain range
SW France
x xxxxxxxxx
Germany 1.000-
ShorthornEngland 700-
x xxxxxxx
(Massif Central)
x xxxxxxxxx
Val Pusteria
South-TirolYes 800-
x xx??xx
HerefordWest England 900-
about 600  xxxxxxxxxx
Scotland about 800about 500 xxxxxxxxxxxx
Red cattleHigh altitude areas
  xxxxx xxx
Higher altitudes
Southern Black Forest
about 700about 400  xxxxxxxxxxxx
GallowayScotland about 700about 500  xxxxxxxxxxxx
Scotland about 600400-500  xxxxxxxxxxxx
Offspring (Heck cattle)
Germany about 700about 500  xxxxxxxxxxxx

Table caption: Characteristics of important cattle breeds suitable for suckler cow husbandry with regard to extensive free-range husbandry. The demands on the housing conditions decrease from top to bottom (changed from URL 1).
Column title: ZNR = second use race; ME = mast property; FR = precociousness; LK = calving ease; Weather = adaptability to extreme weather; Open pasture = hoof health - grazing ability; Extensive husbandry = suitability for extensive husbandry.
Symbols: x = somewhat pronounced, xx = more pronounced, xxx = very pronounced.

Combination with other grazing animals

Cattle can be combined with almost all other grazing animals. Extensive mixed grazing with horses leads to pastures rich in species and structures. Some horses hunt cattle, which can lead to breakouts. Intensive behavioral observation in the first few days is advisable when combining these animal species. The keeping of some goats can be a very useful addition if the cattle are not bitten by the trees. However, goats require more complex fencing. However, individual goats (for example rams) hardly move away from the (cattle) herd and, depending on the area around the pasture, can be provided with cattle without a “goat-proof” fence (STROHWASSER 2005). In wetlands, cattle combine well with water buffalo, as buffaloes accept the same fencing as cattle.

Fencing cattle pastures

An electric fence made of 2 to 3 wires (strands) has proven itself, whereby the top wire should be at least 1.2 m high for larger breeds. In a panic, however, cattle cannot be stopped by such fences. Alternatively, barbed wire fencing is also possible, but this is often rejected because of the risk of injury. Acute angles and dead ends should be avoided when fencing. Danger zones for calves (for example deep ditches, crash edges) must be fenced off when keeping suckler cows. PRIEBE et al. (2013).

Agricultural and economic aspects, animal welfare

Many cattle breeds can be kept outdoors all year round, even in rough locations, which can mean considerable cost savings (WIPPEL 2008). However, depending on the location, climate, area size and breed, stabling during the winter months may be more appropriate. If there is a lack of dense woodland on the pasture, weather protection (shelter) is required all year round. In summer, sun protection is required on areas with few trees.

In principle, the following forms of cattle husbandry are well suited for landscape maintenance:

  • Suckler cow husbandry
  • Rearing heifers
  • Heifers, young bulls and oxen fattening

However, when caring for poor areas and in many wetlands there is the problem of an insufficient supply of nutrients to the animals (GÜSEWELL et al. 2007). Even if there is still enough growth on the pastures, a deficiency situation can arise due to the low nutrient content of the predominant plants (especially nitrogen and phosphorus). When cattle are used on “poor” pastures, more nutrient-rich alternative areas should therefore be available. In these cases, particular attention must be paid to animal health. SCHRÖDER (2010) and KÄMMER (2004) provide important information on aspects of veterinary medicine and husbandry issues in nature conservation-oriented cattle farming in large areas.

Setting up drinking troughs can be problematic. Smaller bodies of water are often trampled, which is only desired for a few nature conservation goals (pioneer species such as the yellow-bellied toad). Watering places and fords on running waters must be coordinated with the water management.


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Schröder, M. (2010): Veterinary aspects of the renaturation of biotopes with the concept of the semi-open pasture landscape. - BfN scripts 270; www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/service/skript_270.pdf.

Stroh, M., Kratochwil, A. & Schwabe, A. (2004): Eating and space use effects in cattle grazing in semi-open pasture landscapes: model areas and restitution areas in Emsland (Lower Saxony). - NNA report 17 (1): 133-146.

Strohwasser, R. (2005): Experience with horse grazing in four different projects in the Bavarian Alpine Foreland. - Laufen seminar papers 1: 125–130.

URL 1 (2014): www.landwirtschaft-bw.info/pb/MLR.LEL-SG,Lde/Startseite/Unsere+Themen/Rinder+_Europ_+Rassen_+in+der+Landschaftspflege.

URL 2 (2014): www.stmelf.bayern.de/agrarpolitik/foerderung/003663/.

Vaas, T., Obermeier, E. & Rossa, R. (2007): Pilot project for grazing representative grassland biotopes in the Bavarian Forest. - Ed .: Government of Niederbayern, Naturschutz in Niederbayern 5: 96 pp.

Waßmuth, R. (2002): Year-round free-range keeping of cattle. Aspects of animal welfare and environmental compatibility. - Landtechnik 57 (4): 226-227.

Wippel, B. (2008): Year-round pasture - a model for the southern Black Forest. - country info 2; 36-39.

Tost, J. (2000): The behavior of adult bulls in a semi-natural herd of cattle with an approximately natural age and sex structure. - Dissertation at the University of Kassel: 145 pp.

Zahn, A. & Niedermeier, U. (2004): On the reproductive biology of green toad (Bufo viridis), yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata) and tree frog (Hyla arborea) with regard to different methods of habitat management. - Zeitschrift für Feldherpetologie 11: 1-24.

Zahn, A. & Lang, A. (2000): Faunistic studies on the effects of cattle grazing on a wetland and a gravel pit in the Mühldorf district. - Unpublished project report for the Bavarian Nature Conservation Fund.

Zahn, A., Englmaier, I. & Drobny, M. (2010): Food availability for insectivores in grasslands - Arthropod abundance in pastures, meadows and fallow land. - Applied Ecology and Environmental Research: 8 (2): 87-100.

Zahn, A. & Herzog, F. (2015): Water buffalo as habitat constructors. The behavior of water buffalo in a standing pasture and the effects on amphibian populations. - ANLiegen Natur 37 (1): 46–54, running; www.anl.bayern.de/publikationen.

Zahn, A., Juen, A., Traugott, M. & Lang, A. (2007): Low density cattle grazing enhances arthropod diversity of abandoned wetland. - Applied Ecology and Environmental Research: 5 (1): 73-86.

Zahn, A., Lang, A., Meinl, M. & Schirlitz, T. (2002): Grazing a wetland with Galloway cattle - flora, fauna and economic aspects of a small-scale free-standing pasture. - Laufen seminar papers 1: 35–45.

Zahn, A., Meinl, M. & Niedermeier, U. (2003): Effects of extensive cattle grazing on the vegetation of a wetland. - Nature conservation and landscape planning 35 (6): 171–178.


Dr. Andreas Zahn
Hermann-Löns-Strasse 4
84478 Waldkraiburg
Phone +49 8638 86117
[email protected]


Rainer Wölfel
Dr. Andreas Zehm

Suggested citation:

Zahn, A. (2014): Grazing with cattle. - In: Burkart-Aicher, B. et al., Online manual “Grazing in Nature Conservation”, Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL), Laufen, www.anl.bayern.de/fachinformationen/beweendung/handbuchinhalt.htm.

Contact person at the ANL:

Dr. Bettina Burkart-Aicher
Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (ANL)
Department 3: Applied Research and International Cooperation
Seethalerstraße 6
83410 running
Phone +49 8682 8963-61

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