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Grazing Management

Grazing Management









Management of grazing operations to maximize production and improve grazing lands; includes grazing rotations, fencing, forage plantings, livestock water, and management of herd size.

How it works

Grazing land is divided into two or more units with fencing. Livestock are moved on a schedule from unit to unit based on forage availability and livestock and plant needs.

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, increasing feed efficiency and profits
  • Helps to evenly distribute manure nutrients

Planning ahead

  • Is there enough water of good quality available in all pastures to meet livestock needs?
  • Is the mix of grass and legumes adequate for the soil types?
  • Will forage meet the nutrient needs of your cattle?
  • Are there management alternatives for periods of low forage production?

Technical notes

  • Plan your rotation so the same units will not be grazed the same time year after year.
  • Plan rest periods so each grazed unit will have adequate time to recover during the growing season to promote plant vigor.
  • All livestock must be removed from grazed units while pastures are being rested.


  • Keep fencing secure.
  • Some pastures may need to be mowed or hayed during heavy growth periods.
  • Remove pasture water systems during winter if necessary, and reinstall them in the spring.
  • If herd size changes dramatically, update rotation schedule and grazing units as needed.
  • Apply fertilizer and nutrients according to soil tests.