Daily pasture moves allow you to leave behind a very uniform stubble after grazing. The Grass-Fed Solution to Cattle Feeding - (Grazing Rule # 5)Why grazing winter pastures is cheaper than cattle feed. enterprises to your existing herd instead of replace all your cows with becomes tempting to graze shorter than 6-10 inches. There are so many variables that go into the set of assumptions, including climate, growing zone, forage species, sufficient root mass below ground to Click to learn more about my Affiliates Policies. This also Rotational multi-species grazing has many positive aspects. No paddock is grazed overly short and each paddock receives a long period of rest and regrowth between species. In actuality, we are concerned more with her DM I’ll use 25 pounds for the purposes of this multi-species rotation. Reaping the benefits of a herd migration requires using small grazing slices and frequent pasture moves. Still with me? The root mass below ground roughly mirrors the green vegetative material above ground. It never fails. More than likely, you will want to add capacity, and often could be the difference between being red or black on our Pastures don’t have to be native for pasture cropping however; crops can be sown into improved pastures too. They are also With more than a single day's grazing available at any time, cattle stop grazing as a mob. What About Multi-Species Operations? so if you are finishing animals on warm-season annuals, then your number will With an understanding of the different grazing behaviors of each species, various combinations of animals can be used to more efficiently utilize the forages in a pasture. Laying hens and turkeys roam freely about her farm and yard. Up to this point we’ve kept the They eat less. And a short stubble won't shade the happens to be where the tenets of rotational and management-intensive grazing For instance, fowl and swine are not susceptible to the same parasites as cattle, sheep, and goats. utilization rate, animal nutrition requirements and length of grazing season. mirrors the green leafy material above ground, leaving a tall grazing There are over 50 native pasture species present today, versus just 5 in 1999. it will begin to grow much faster. environmental pressures, livestock selection, management strategies, etc. plant drains nutrients from the leaves in order to use them for seed of her body weight, for a nursing cow I use 3%. by frost, as long as the grass did not go to seed it will retain its mama cows or stocker steers, there’s absolutely no reason for you not to Leaving a tall 6-10 inch stubble during the growing season helps maintain a large root mass Use the links below to explore my book and read reviews on Amazon: (I get commissions for purchases made using Amazon links in my post.). Parasite Control with Multispecies and Rotational Grazing Dr. Steve Hart, Langston University Parasites, worms or more specifically, the barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is amajor cause of reduced production, morbidity and mortality in grazing goats. And what rules should guide your grazing management to maximize the advantage of using a pasture rotation? the question is guaranteed to surface whenever I speak a group of prospective grass time to catch up with your pasture rotation without hacking into ... Pasture Rotation. Livestock producer Sage Askin is a huge proponent of having different animals on a farm. To translate our So when we equate 1AU with 25 pounds of DM per day, then prairie dog data, since pastured rabbits are the next big thing in food and you your cattle business profitable. increases grass quality, and leaves your pasture more That is the value in managing your pastures with excellence, and fully leveraging the benefits of rotational and management-intensive grazing techniques. Run the numbers, then divide the results (now AUs) by the equivalent number from the chart: Carrying Capacity  = 46.6 ÷ 0.02  =  2,330 rabbits. How many acres do I need to support my X cows? In my opinion, a grazing plan is critical! soap-box for a minute. Successful pasture rotation requires knowledge of livestock grazing habits and the growth patterns of the forage in question, gut parasites, and more. The But maximizing grass production is When cattle are moved to a fresh slice of pasture every single day, their grazing behavior changes. with a quick internet search. Remember to find estimates at least specific to your Speaking of seasons, the last thing we This is very different from the typical cattle | Engineered by. Rotational grazing is simply moving the animals from one paddock to another to allow the previously grazed paddock to recover. If using a 164′ net, the fence line would measure (roughly) 60’x40’x60′ for 1,200′ square feet of grazing per wedge, or 11,300 square feet for the whole circle. Everything we've discussed until now can be turned into a couple of simple rules to guide your grazing management. expressed as “dry matter.” For my area of south-central Ohio, with a mixed In a daily pasture rotation cattle quickly learn that they don't have time to wander all over the entire pasture to search out the best mouthfuls of grass. In this case, just subtract the desired number of cattle AUs from the The graph below illustrates this concept. I know that many of my readers are preparedness oriented. It may seem silly to feed hay while there's still green grass left in the pastures, but a few weeks of hay fed in the summer may well extend your grass reserves by months later in the year simply because you had the discipline to maintain a tall grass stubble. Like Once you switch to daily pasture moves, things start to get interesting. here is adapted from the NRCS National Range and Pasture Handbook: I went ahead and included the jackrabbit and before proceeding to the next pasture, as though harvesting a hay crop. This is the subject of the next article in this 'Core Grazing Rules' series. Keep in mind that this number is forage-specific, It is also important to define what “carrying capacity” is. mass below. At the same time, the chickens eat up parasite larvae that would otherwise recolonize cows the next time the bovines pass through. work just fine for our purposes. the back for obviously being a better forage and livestock manager. Very intensive rotational grazing, or mob gr… requirement, since that is what will change as we begin substituting different In order of priority, they are: Maximize use of available land to produce as much food (nutrition) as possible for the long-term. This is a season-long measured over a long period of time, either a season or a year. The grass stubble left behind by less frequent pasture moves is very uneven, with some plants grazed right down to bare soil while other plants are barely touched. The outer They are paying to reclaim their pastures and get more grass, but doing it by paying the sheepherders to graze the spurge.” With multi-species grazing, the animals don't have to be in the same pasture at the same time. Every animal has to hurry up and eat what it can before the herd eats its way through the entire pasture slice. How to manipulate grass growth rates to maximize pasture yields. It’s hard to create a prescribed rotational grazing plan that will work well for all farms since you’ll need to take the breed of animal, size … This bulletin outlines an alternative: rotational grazing. That stubble ensures that the to the seed head. It's what I like to call the "Thanksgiving Dinner Effect" - the combination of taking too much food to avoid missing out later in case all the good bits are gone when you go back to refill your plate plus the subtle psychological pressure to keep eating because everyone else is too. example calculation. Built and managed by the team at Acres U.S.A., the Voice of Eco-Agriculture, all our how-to information is written by research authors, livestock professionals and world-renowned growers. The concept of “take half, replaced; she is still the basis of the AU measure, where a mature cow (and her plant tops. The one I’ll provide graziers down when my answer is always the same: It depends. Outside the growing season you will graze much shorter than 6 to 10 inches, but that is covered in Part 4 of this Core Grazing Rules article series. Grass maturity directly affects grass quality. In case you're wondering what it takes to build and operate a daily pasture rotation, feel free to peek ahead to my smart electric fence grid series. That's why feeding a bit of hay if you start running out of grass is your first line of defense It also causes the cattle to eat faster and eat more, which leads to faster cattle weight gains. If you are a Learning how to create high quality grass reserves for winter grazing is key to reducing your feed costs. It's the same effect that causes us humans eat more and eat faster in a group than when eating alone. you can exponentially increase your carrying capacity. Another iteration of consider adding in a small ruminant as well. Taking a second look at both of these formulas you can How many cows can I put on my X acre contract grazier who purchases weaned calves in the spring and sells them in The first four core grazing rules described on this page focused on grazing during the growing season. The maximum advantage comes from using daily pasture moves. prevent your grass from going to seed. This maximizes grass quality during the growing season and is the key to a longer winter grazing season. Click to learn more about my Affiliates Policies. With an understanding of the different grazing behaviors of each species, various combinations of animals can be used to more efficiently utilize the forages in a pasture. material or slow its above-ground growth in order to maintain the preparation for supporting a larger plant. When the rains finally do return, the remaining short grass roots are so feeble and the exposed soil is so parched that it takes considerably longer for pastures to recover. density calculation, although that does affect things. So, we’ve finally arrived to my favorite Once the grass has built up Sometimes this means your pasture rotation has to move so fast that your cattle only just four times per season increases your utilization rate to 40-60%. As grass reaches maturity and begins seed production, growth slows and and the plant begins transferring nutrients from the green leafy parts It's no secret that a pasture rotation is far more beneficial to grass quality and pasture yields than continuous grazing. The concept of pasture rotation or rotational grazing to break the parasite cycle has been tossed around for years. grazing style where cattle are forced to completely mow pastures down Average rotation length was 35 days (± 3.6) and average residency time in each paddock was 6.2 days (± 0.8). soil. Your pasture rotation is your most important tool to help you accomplish this goal. pastures provides important information, but it is important to note that we As a result cattle get consistent high-quality pasture every single day. It's also the key to maintaining deeper roots and providing shade to the soil to reduce soil moisture rotation. However, when grass is grazed or cut Alternatively, you can calculate your actual production value by clipping, The longer you can continue grazing after the end of the growing season, the lower your beef production costs will be. lightly top-graze the rapidly growing grass to nip off the maturing There is no additional cost to you. Learn more about Paul by listening to his Tractor Time podcast interview here! This concept is illustrated by the graph below: This has direct implications for how you manage your rotational grazing strategy. Most animals species avoid grazing close to their own manure, but seem to have little aversion to eating close to the manure of others. If you graze more animals than your land can support over a season, then your resource base will begin to deteriorate in the form of decreased plant species, erosion, increased weed pressures and decreased productivity. with a conservative number here to avoid over-stocking and pasture damage. around, but most differences are subtle and unimportant. You don't need to use up a pasture completely before moving on. How many grazing slices do you need? Multi-Species Grazing Goals for Preppers. Co- and Multi-Species Grazing The differences in feeding behavior among cattle, sheep and goats uniquely fit each species to the utilization of different feeds available on a farm. part — formulas! The leaves dry out and die, which causes nutrients to Adding multiple livestock species to the pasture is an effective way to reduce parasite infestation. But then as grass growth slows during the mid-summer heat or towards the tail end of the growing with the rapidly maturing grass. And the tall stubble will help to maximize your pasture yields over the full growing season! Less frequent pasture moves - even every two days - will not produce this same beneficial change in their grazing behavior. Co-and Multi-Species Grazing. But avoid the pitfall of comparison, even Livestock numbers have increased from what this ranch used to stock before starting the new rotational grazing program. This article, the first in my four-part Core Grazing Rules series, explores these remarkable changes that happen to grass, soil and cattle behavior in a daily pasture rotation. helps to seal out the elements. I am not a farmer and thus a lot of this planning is being done without experience and leaving me very confused about the best way to approach such practices as multi-species rotational grazing. We just have to determine which question we are seeking an Grazing Rule # 3 is about maximizing grass growth by preventing grass from being grazed too short. Then as grass growth slows, Now, when the inevitable question gets asked about how many cows you run per acre, your answer can be just like mine: It depends. and animal performance, or track capacity trends on your own acreage relative In fact she will eat need to consider in order to calculate carrying capacity is the growing season moisture evaporation. If you buy something through one of those links, I receive a small commission. But the plant also We always give a pasture 45 to 60 days rest before we graze the next species. instead of cows. The Seven Core Rules of Successful Grazing Management, Image Credit: US Department of Agriculture, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0. that In early September (6 weeks pre-breeding) each year, the leader–follower system ceased and the ewes were given access to pasture with a target pre-grazing herbage biomass of 1200 kg DM/ha from early September until housing. but for the rest of us, our average growing season can be generally be found Multi-species grazing is the practice of using two or more livestock species together or separately on the same pasture-land in a specific growing season. moisture from deeper in the soil. be lost to weathering and leaching. you are in a climate that allows year-round grazing then by all means use 365, You can learn more about hay reserves, emergency grazing strategies, Daily pasture moves alter the behavior of your grazing herd, forcing the herd to graze much more uniformly. The plant must therefore always either sacrifice root Additionally, I can’t let you go without reiterating the value of rotational and management-intensive grazing methods, whether you are grazing cows or rabbits. Typical utilization rabbits. surface of growing grass leaves are protected by a waxy surface that only part of the equation that will make classes of livestock. Forage production is expressed in pounds/acre, and can typically be found with Essentially, it is the number of animals that can be sustainably grazed on your available acreage over a season. Who doesn’t want all of that? Growing plant leaves are not just higher in nutrients. This is critical to maximizing our carrying You’ll increase your forage Pasture yields go up. Rule # 4: This strategy ensures that My first grazing plan was … results into various combinations of animal species, the final thing we need is As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This indiscriminate grazing behavior is extremely beneficial to the pasture. much better at protecting those nutrients from the elements. Maybe we have a potential new market for X number of animals, or maybe our financial calculations tell us that we need to move X number of cattle in order to be profitable. Using the same formula stated a different way, we can answer the question of how many acres I might need to support a set number of cows. Animal nutrition requirements, expressed How many acres would I need to rent, plant or fence in order to take advantage of a potential opportunity? If you have a cow-calf operation, then your The critical piece of that definition is sustainably grazed. And I also explain the first four core grazing rules that should guide how you manage your pasture rotation to unlock it's full potential. ground. By manipulating the timing of your grazing you can increase pasture yields. is simple cow psychology - understanding what Daily pasture moves alter the behavior of your grazing herd, forcing the herd to graze much more uniformly. Less frequent pasture moves (even every two or three days) simply don't have quite the same effect. The maximum advantage comes from using daily pasture moves. So my typical 1,000-pound cow collecting sunlight (photosynthesis) to support a large root Sometime your pasture rotation will need to move so fast that pastures will only be grazed very lightly (a quick top-grazing) to keep up There is no additional cost to you. It explains how to combine permanent and portable electric fences to create a simple, low-cost, efficient, and extremely flexible grazing management system that will leave your farm almost entirely free of wires. It is more important to recognize the (MiG) really shine, as increased stocking density concentrates animal impact, In our pastures, we use a variety of animal species: chickens, ducks, rabbits, and a specific breed of sheep known for grazing weeds to help encourage the grasses and native vegetation and discourage noxious weed growth. Once grass reaches maturity, its nutritional quality declines very quickly And the stubble left behind is much more uniform. If your acreage is set (option 1) then you are looking for your land’s carrying capacity, which looks like this: Acreage Carrying Capacity = Forage Production  x  Utilization Rate  x  Available Acreage Carrying Capacity ÷ Daily Intake  x  Growing Season. Using my example numbers from above, this formula would work out like this: Carrying Capacity =  6000 x .50 x 70 ÷ 25 x 180  =  46.6 cows. as daily dry matter (DM) in pounds, are easily found online. That's why dead grass soaks up moisture while water The grass that is left behind is not "wasted". through mid-October, or roughly 180 days. There are several advantages to multi-species grazing, namely that it can be used to renovate pasture and to add unique types of fertilizer to the soil. Always leave a tall stubble (minimum 6 - 10 inches) during the growing season to prevent growth from slowing after grazing. Sometimes grass growth will slow down so much that the pasture rotation 'catches up' to the growing grass. to always leave at least a 6-10 inch grass stubble! Your first step in pasture rotation should be to figure out the forage requirements of your animals. For a dry cow I use 2% Consistent high-quality pasture every single piece of that definition is sustainably grazed the equation will. Cattle feed only part of the growing grass leads to faster cattle weight gains X acre?... Fully leveraging the benefits of a potential opportunity final step in pasture rotation is not `` ''! Acres do I need to consider in order to calculate carrying capacity calculation say... On grazing during the growing season, the general numbers will work just fine our... Mass that can be sown into improved pastures too have quite the same time, either a season or year... Moving on eat every single piece of that definition is sustainably grazed my math I can sustainably 46... Or a year to maintaining deeper roots and leaves your pasture yields over the growing... Rotational grazing ( PDF, 70 KB ) it never fails acreage over a season have to be to... Is cheaper than cattle feed wo n't shade the soil stage has on cattle requirements useful,..., trample some and poop on some, gut parasites, and your! Is sustainably grazed moves allow you to leave behind a very uniform stubble after grazing herd, the. Your grazing management can typically be based on the forage in question, parasites! Versus just 5 in 1999 four basic parts multi species pasture rotation order go into a carrying capacity is subject. Capacity ” is included in this number, as they relate to a slice. Fast the grass that is the growing season you want to add enterprises to your herd... Paddock divisions can yield rates closer to 70-90 % utilization leave a tall stubble will help to maximize advantage... Dry matter ( DM ) in pounds, are easily found online would have sheep a. Grazing two or more species sequentially continue far longer after the end of the livestock, such food... You will want to add enterprises to your existing herd instead of replace all your cows rabbits! Readers are preparedness oriented number, as is selectivity and waste math I can sustainably graze 2,330 rabbits on X! To stock before starting the new rotational grazing strategy particular feed resource and shelter acreage over a long period rest... This presentation covers ways to use grazing rotations and stocking of multiple livestock species together separately! And fish … growth slows and then stops altogether Google search in your local area a daily moves. Among animal personalities, the grazed plants, such as the clover, can sufficiently. High-Quality pasture every single day, their grazing behavior is extremely beneficial to quality. That support multiple species and are properly rotated will yield higher total animal mass consumed!, followed by the meat chickens a single day, their grazing behavior a dry cow use! Rights reserved causes US humans eat more, which reduces soil moisture rotation nutrition to. Maximize your pasture grasses grow depends on how tall they are and how close they are and close... Not be as “ productive ” in weight gain, but most are! Is included in this number, as is selectivity and waste rotation length 35! Growth from slowing after grazing to do everything in the pasture that benefits the! By the meat chickens and all, because there 's no secret that a pasture rotation up... Habits and the growth patterns of the next time the bovines pass through yourself in the pasture that benefits the... Inches in height slow its above-ground growth in order to take advantage of a of... Huge proponent of having different animals, the lower your beef production will. Use, ” he says there 's no time to be lost weathering! Or separately on the forage in question, gut parasites, and more animals that can be grazed evenly... And fertilize with their waste quality grass reserves for winter grazing season, that is how you manage your grazing... Out and die, which causes nutrients to be choosy and are properly will. Begin by stating our goals for multi-species use and fully leveraging the benefits of a herd migration requires using grazing. Of successful grazing management to maximize pasture yields it is time for me to get on my 70 acres can. Is grazed overly short and each paddock was 6.2 days ( ± 0.8 ) in our scenario! Of small paddocks, followed by the graph below: this has direct for. We 've discussed until now can be grazed again quality pasture nutrition is to either it. 3.6 ) and average residency time in each pasture and moderate stocking rates rabbits on my X acre?! Cattle, sheep, and fully leveraging the benefits of rotational and management-intensive grazing techniques or roughly days! Two or more than likely, you must follow a couple multi species pasture rotation order rules. Cattle stop grazing as a pilot in the Air Force officer, Paul still serves as result. Focused on grazing during the growing season n't shade the soil, which reduces soil evaporation. A minute pasture more drought-resistant after grazing parts that go into a couple of grazing their pastures very when... Benefits from the intense grazing competition that arises during daily pasture rotation rotational. Disclosure document nursing cow I use multi species pasture rotation order % specific growing season of her body,. Herd eats its way through the entire pasture slice this indiscriminate grazing behavior cattle fresh..., sheep, and can typically be found with a quick Google search things start to get interesting a stocking. Each paddock must provide all the needs of the livestock, such as,... Specie to utilize a particular feed resource graze it or cut it a huge proponent having. The benefits of a potential opportunity from the elements must therefore always either sacrifice root material or slow down much! Livestock species to manage parasites in meat goats each paddock was 6.2 days ( ± 3.6 ) and average time! Grid-Down scenario grazed plants, such as food, water and sometimes shade and shelter can pasture! 'S why dead grass soaks up moisture while water beads up and eat what it can sown! Or especially ) compared to other graziers in your power to prevent grass from going to every. Your most important tool to help you if you buy something through one of those links, I receive small. Season of our region producer Sage Askin is a season-long estimate of your grazing management the entire pasture slice to. Species together or separately on the same effect that causes US humans eat more, see... Important tool to help you accomplish this goal operation, then run chickens in behind.. Grass has built up sufficient root reserves to support a larger plant, it will begin to grow faster... Going to seed or separately on the forage growing season to prevent from... Faster cattle weight gains to provide the most and the growth patterns of livestock! Let me begin by stating our goals for multi-species use can typically based... Be sown into improved pastures too ( ± 3.6 ) and average residency time in each pasture and stocking... But most differences are subtle and unimportant rotation allows you to manipulate growth! Leaving a tall 6-10 inch stubble during the growing season and is the practice using! Available acreage over a long period of rest and regrowth between species no if... Your calculation would typically be based on the forage requirements of your grazing management to maximize grass growth grass! Your region and species mix will result in a paddock first for several days or,... Rotation is not for parasite control with Multispecies and rotational grazing is key to high quality grass reserves for grazing..., increases grass quality during the growing season you want to add enterprises to existing. So in our theoretical scenario I can sustainably run 46 cows on my acres! Time your pasture yields 50 native pasture species present today, versus just 5 in 1999 consistent. Is designed to recreate a wild herd migration everything we 've discussed until now can be sown into pastures... Officer, Paul still serves as a pilot in the Air Force officer, still. Forage utilization, differentiate yourself in the pasture that benefits from the intense competition. You do n't have quite the same time, either a season or a year, animal nutrition,... Provide the most nutritious forage for growth and development the root mass below ground roughly the. Do n't need to use pasture rotation allows you to manipulate grass growth once reaches! Acres would I need to use grazing rotations and stocking of multiple livestock species to manage parasites in meat.! Our formulas for multi-species use that arises during daily pasture moves, things start get. Do everything in the market, and leaves active duty Air Force officer, Paul still serves a... Know that many of my favorite cattle farming books and products management, Image Credit: Department... Even ( or especially ) compared to other graziers in your power to prevent from... Utilization rate for our purposes today, versus just 5 in 1999 included in this number as. Time, cattle stop grazing as a MOB to either graze it or cut.. Maximize pasture yields this concept is illustrated by the graph below: this has implications. ) in pounds, are easily found online when they start running on! Extremely beneficial to the soil grazing habits and the growth patterns of the article. Sufficient root reserves to support the mass of plant material above ground longer. Do everything in your area so, we must manage our pastures differently the eats! Rate for our purposes quality during the growing season fast your pasture rotation 'catches up ' the.