“This is the part you can’t learn from a book or a workshop. Benefits of grazing Cost The biggest cost in most, if not all, cattle production systems is feed. The reduced need for pesticides in rotational grazing systems benefits all. To maximize and optimize the use of this precious asset many farmers/ranchers are turning to rotational grazing. The Wallaces currently run 40 cows, 230 ewes and 40 nannies on several hundred acres that are cross-fenced into small paddocks for rotational grazing. You run into situations each year that you haven’t encountered before, as well as learn from your mistakes. Beef producers and researchers alike have long known that rotational grazing is best for pasture health. As we approach fall like temperatures, forage growth patterns will begin to change. Beef Magazine is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC. Rotational grazing is the practice of moving grazing livestock between pastures (often called paddocks) as needed or on a regular basis. The ideal pasture has fertile soil and a variety of nutritious forage plants, grazed at the proper phases of growth. Designing and spacing watering tanks can keep grazing animals away from stream and increase grazing utilization of the pasture. When done properly, pasture rotation can prevent overgrazing, aid optimal regrowth of plants and allow the same piece of ground to be grazed several times during growing season. Cattle producers target grasses and attempt to eliminate bare ground and reduce forbs and brush in favor of homogenous, grass-dominated pastures. Calving later is one way to shift the energy demand to the time of year you have the best grass,” Gerrish says. On private range, ranchers have more options to do what might be best for the land and cattle, using innovations and flexibility. Learning how to adjust the grazing and recovery periods is an art. Good ranch management starts with good pasture management. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. “Ranchers who calve in January and February, hitting peak lactation in March and April, have the highest energy demand before they have good grass. First, you need to take into account several factors such as land availability, rotation schedule, number of animals being grazed, and forage availability. Properly managed livestock grazing helps to reduce fire hazards by controlling the amount and distribution of grasses and other potential fuel. Understanding the growth phases of forage, the amount of residual feed to leave and when the animals need to be moved is crucial, especially with cool-season grasses, or they won’t grow back very well. Cattle will generally do most of their grazing within 800 feet of a water source. When you go from a dry cow (maintenance requirements) to peak lactation, you’ve doubled the demand on the pastures — even before you add in the calf. One obvious benefit to this management scheme that was previously mentioned above is a decrease in total feeding costs. “In a pasture being grazed continuously, without rotation, cattle keep re-grazing the short spots, seeking out Phase 1 grass. Rotational grazing can help extend the grazing season, allowing a producer to rely less on stored feed and supplement. Cornstalk grazing: What supplementation is needed? Most of the Midwest grasslands are managed under continuous grazing practice, under which livestock graze the entire pasture season long without any grass recovery period. Because goats eat things like woody brush, forbs, and problem weeds, they can take care of those plants while your cattle will prefer to graze legumes and common grasses. “The first is when grass comes out of dormancy in spring, or after being harvested short. In a traditional rotation, the producer tries to keep as much of the pasture in Phase 2 as possible, putting cattle into a pasture when grass is fairly high on Phase 2 of the growth curve. That doesn’t include the benefits of stockpiling grass in the field for fall or winter grazing. Related: How to build a low-maintenance cowherd. There are numerous benefits to multi-species grazing, especially for those who start out with rural or mountain properties (rather than pastures) that have marginal grazing land in need of improvement. Stocking rate should always focus on forage demand rather than cow numbers. Electric netting allows our shepherds to quickly subdivide pastures. However, an important thought to consider is if your sheep are grazing a specific plant, is it considered a weed? It’s most common in pastures that are continuously grazed, without rotation — but it can also happen in a rotation program if you leave cattle in a paddock too long, or if your recovery period is too short. Benefits of Rotational Grazing Rotational grazing can be simply explained as moving livestock between pastures (often called paddocks) every set number of days or as needed. “This Phase 2 growth continues until the mass of the plant is requiring a lot of energy just to maintain its structure. Number 8860726. This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. There are many benefits to this strategy as rotational grazing allows producers to utilize their pastures more efficiently by decreasing feed costs, decreasing weed pressure present in a pasture setting, improving the health and performance of grazing flocks, and contributing to the sustainability of the grazing land. Remove cattle from cornstalks when soils begin to thaw, Cover crops offer potential grazing benefit for cattle operations. Animals that heavily graze a specific area can benefit the land by consuming and or physically destroying weed populations. One consideration that may be of great benefit to you and your operation is to obtain some aerial images of your land to determine where you can make your pastures and how they will be split. “This is a tool you absolutely must use to get maximum beef production on that expensive input,” he says. One of the most desirable attributes of this system is that a producer can design it to fit their needs. Rotational grazing is a farming process that strategically moves livestock around a pasture by way of temporarily partitioning certain areas. Elevation, climate, types of plants, terrain, whether it’s irrigated or dryland, etc., will all be factors. “I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and I still make my share of mistakes and learn something new each season,” says Gerrish. The Benefits of Rotational Grazing Hart Dairy / 2 days ago / Animal welfare , Grass , Regenerative Farming , Sustainability , Cows , Rotational Grazing At Hart Dairy, we know that in order to produce the best feed from our pastures, we must manage those pastures in a more sustainable way. Here's a solid refresher on rotational grazing for cattle ranchers. In addition to the costs of feeding, rotational grazing will greatly benefit your land. 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. Case Study 2: Elk in Montana. Among the four benefits listed, faster drought recovery was most highly rated by users, in that nearly 50% of the users perceived significant benefit of rotational grazing when it comes to the increased resilience of grassland to drought. Instead of letting animals continuously graze down an entire pasture, the animals are herded into a section of the pasture for a short period of time. Overgrazing can happen whenever cattle are allowed to return to the same plants, keeping them grazed down into Phase 1. If the pasture is in a recovery period and not grazed, plants start to accumulate enough leaf area to be able to grow more rapidly. Grazing Benefits Regenerative grazing is a principle-driven agricultural practice of building soil health by managing livestock on perennial and annual forages, and in a way that supports human and ecosystem health, farm profitability, and community and food system resilience. The Wildland Vegetation program incorporates due consideration for the forage needs of deer and other wildlife, erosion control, and a desire for protection of sensitive environments. Benefits of Rotational Grazing Rotational grazing provides many benefits and opportunities for livestock owners. It is possible to use cattle farming as a tool to improve soil quality and forage production. If you do a good job of irrigating and stocking, always keeping grass at 5 to 8 inches in height [always in Phase 2], continuous grazing can work, especially in climates that are very stable, Gerrish says. Once you have an idea of where you will be grazing your flock, the next consideration is resources. Neither text, nor links to other websites, is reviewed or endorsed by The Ohio State University. Some stock producers find best results by moving cattle daily or even several times a day. Related: South Dakota rancher uses cover crops, rotational grazing to extend grazing period. Planned grazing by cattle on elk winter ranges can be an effective way to enhance forage palatability.21 In 1984 a rotational grazing system was established to address forage conflicts between elk (Cervus elaphus) and livestock on Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area in Montana.22 The system rotated rested pastures in a manner that maintained … However, stocking rates and pasture moves aren’t a static thing. John Hall, superintendent of the University of Idaho’s Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center near Salmon, says rotational grazing is always a very positive tool for stock producers, especially on irrigated ground. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. The content of this site is published by the site owner(s) and is not a statement of advice, opinion, or information pertaining to The Ohio State University. This makes the recovery periods longer than they can afford to have,” he says. DeLaune is researching the integration of cover crops and livestock into cotton-wheat rotation systems, including grazing after cotton harvest. Copyright © 2021. “Stockmen who try to do rotational grazing and find they are still running out of grass are usually grazing it too short. Please contact site owner for help. “We still have a lot to learn about how best to use these grasses, especially on rangeland. There are many benefits to this strategy as rotational grazing allows producers to utilize their pastures more efficiently by decreasing feed costs, decreasing weed pressure present in a pasture setting, improving the health and performance of grazing flocks, and contributing to the sustainability of the grazing land. These pieces of land are usually described as marginal. Will you be investing in a water line or will you be hauling water to your flock? There are many variables regarding the best number of days spent in a paddock. by Troy Smith, field editor @Enticed by the potential benefits, including increased quantity and quality of forage produced, im-proved utilization of available forage and increased carrying capacity, Dan Stelling applied rotational-grazing … “You need to be able to vary stocking rate seasonally,” says Gerrish. Temporary electric fence can be inexpensive and easy to move, partly because no gates are needed. One common method is to create large pastures with permanent fencing and then subdivide them with temporary electric fencing. Grass was so plentiful in 2018 that cattle grazed until Christmas, Brian says. “One of the problems in thinking about rotational grazing is the tendency to think one size fits all, and that there’s a particular way to set up pastures and move cows,” says Hall. Wheel line irrigation can be compatible with paddock division fences, if you can use portable electric fence.

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