Planned grazing systems use forage plantings and grazing rotations to maximize production and reduce sediment and nutrient runoff. Remember to consider food, water, and herd size.
How it helps...
Improves vegetative cover, reducing erosion and improving water quality
Increases harvest efficiency and helps ensure adequate forage throughout the grazing season
Increases forage quality and production which helps increase feed efficiency and can improve profits
Rotating also evenly distributes manure nutrient resources
Consider the number of livestock and the forage needed. Will existing pasture meet livestock needs, or will seeding and/or fertilization be needed? Plan for management alternatives for times of low forage production.
Is there adequate, good quality water distributed throughout the pasture?
Soil erosion control practices may be needed on stream banks or in areas of concentrated runoff before the grazing system can be put in place.
Move livestock on and off paddocks according to forage availability, not according to the calendar. Plan rest periods so paddocks have adequate time to recover during the growing season
Apply lime and fertilizer as indicated by soil tests.
Haying may be necessary during heavy growth periods.
Repair fencing as needed. Remove or drain pasture watering systems during winter.
Revise the rotation schedule and the size and number of paddocks as herd size and other factors change.