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Range & Pasture

Grazing System Information - Vermont NRCS   This web page provides tools to help the conservation planner, farmer and consumer understand and promote the vitality and benefits of grass-based farming in Vermont.


Multiple Species Grazing

Vermont and National NRCS Grazing Managment Planning Tools

The following documents require either Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Excel
PDF = Adobe Acrobat
XLT = Microsoft Excel

Vermont Grazing Plan (XLT; 2,065 KB)
This tool is used to estimate the number of pasture acres and paddocks which will be necessary for a rotational grazing system. This workbook also provides a format for final documentation of the prescribed grazing plan.

Forage and Livestock Balance Estimator (XLT; 158 KB)
This field sheet provides a method for estimating whether adequate forage is available on current or planned farm acres for intended livestock numbers.

Forage Inventory and Allocation Worksheet (XLT; 153 KB)
When planning a prescribed grazing system, concern is often expressed that by taking crop land and putting it into pasture there will be a resulting shortage of feed for other times of the year. This worksheet is designed to address the landowners concerns.

Pasture Condition Score Sheet and Guide To Pasture Condition Scoring 
The Pasture Condition Score Sheet is a tool to record the condition of multiple indicators and evaluate pasture. This is used in tandem with the Guide to Pasture Condition Scoring.  The Guide is used to inform landowners as well as professionals of the 10 indicators of pasture condition and the 6 causative factors affecting plant vigor with a procedure to assess each indicator.  These tools were developed by Grazing Lands Technology Institute in 2001 and updated in 2020.

Record Keeping Sheet (PDF; 76 KB)
Adobe Acrobat format for keeping grazing records.

Example Grazing Plan
The following documents require Adobe Acrobat .
Example Grazing Plan 1 (PDF; 275 KB)   Example Map 1 (PDF; 169 KB)   Example Map 2 (PDF; 148 KB)   Example Map 3 (PDF; 138 KB)


More Grazing Management Tools and Information

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat

Pasture Estimating Device (PDF; 11 KB)
PED is a tool that has been developed by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New York State to help producers evaluate the amount of forage that is available for grazing in pastures that are between 6 and 12 inches tall.

Some Grasses of the Northeast (PDF Large File; - 11.3 MB) (University of Delaware)
A key for grass identification by vegetative characteristics. This field manual is useful for keying out lesser known grasses often found in pastures or old meadows.

Protecting Riparian Areas This publication is designed to help farmers, watershed managers, and environmentalists understand what healthy riparian areas look like, how they operate, and why they are important for the environment and society. It also provides information on the costs and benefits of riparian management and discusses how watershed residents can work together to protect this vital resource.  Provided by ATTRA.

Managed Grazing in Riparian Areas  This publication is designed to help farmers and ranchers identify and use locally appropriate grazing practices to protect riparian resources. Methods for protecting these environmentally fragile areas include keeping livestock from streambanks, properly resting pastures to restore degraded land, and determining the proper duration and season for grazing pastures. It examines adjusting general recommendations to fit your particular management objectives and environmental conditions.  Provided by ATTRA.

Links To Other Grazing Information Websites and Publications

Center for Sustainable Agriculture (University of Vermont)
The Center for Sustainable Agriculture was established in 1994 as a unit within the University of Vermont to integrate university and community expertise to promote sustainable farming systems throughout Vermont and the region.

National Grazing Lands Coalition
NatGLC (Formerly GLCI) is a nationwide consortium of organizations and agencies working together with NRCS  to maintain and improve the management and health of the nation's grazing lands.  Find out more about NatGLC...

National Organic Program  The National Organic Program (NOP) is a regulatory program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products.

National Range and Pasture Handbook
The National Range and Pasture Handbook (NRPH) constitutes Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) basic policy and procedures for assisting farmers, ranchers, groups, organizations, units of government, and others working through conservation districts in planning and applying resource conservation on non-Federal grazing lands throughout the United States. This handbook may also serve as a general reference for grazing lands resource information. It was prepared primarily for NRCS use, but others who are interested in grazing lands conservation may find it useful.

Northeast Grazing Guide
This site was developed as part of the Northeast Pasture Research and Extension Consortium. The site gives you access to Research Summaries, Extension Resources, Farmer Projects, and Links to other grazing websites.

Pasture and Grazing Management
Grazing information and resources from the University of Vermont Crops and Soils website.

Pastures For Profit; A Guide To Rotational  (PDF; 605 KB) The following agencies and organizations cooperated in the development and publication of this pamphlet:

  •  Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Sustainable Agriculture Program
  •  Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Wildlife Management
  •  Wisconsin Nutrient and Pest Management program with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, University of Wisconsin, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  •  University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension
  •  University of Minnesota-Extension

National NRCS Pasture and Rangeland website.

Links To Plant and Forage Websites 

Forages.org
The Forage Species Selection Tool is made up of several programs which access numerous databases to provide forage species suggestions for New York State, taking into consideration both the available soil type and the intended forage use. Soil type can be selected from a list, or the program can estimate soil type based on zip code, county, and basic soil characteristics.

USDA PLANTS Database  The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories.

Links To Grants and Financial Assistance Program Sites

Conservation Programs
Conservation programs administered through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Vermont.