The Science of Breeding and Raising Cattle

The article "Desert Tortoise vs. Grazing Cattle," Feb. 12, correctly states that "cattle trample the soil, affecting its ability to hold moisture for vegetation." But in the context of the article the meaning is that cattle decrease the soil's moisture-holding ability. Actually, the opposite is the case.

In desert areas where the soil's crust is particularly hard due to long intervals of sun without rain, cattle's hooves perform the service of tilling. Without it, rain will run off faster and evaporate more quickly; less moisture will enter the earth, and fewer seeds will germinate. There will be less vegetation and more erosion. E. B. Severin, Alpine, Texas

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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