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ROTATIONAL GRAZING

ROTATIONAL GRAZING

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

ROTATIONAL GRAZING

The intensive management of livestock using practices that mimic the behavior of migratory ruminants by regularly and systematically moving herds onto fresh pasture. When paddocks are rested between grazing, vegetation rebuilds shoot systems and deepens its roots to provide greater long-term production of biomass.

WHAT GROWS HERE
Jerry plants a variety of cool and warm season grasses (timothy, orchard, several ryes, bluestem and more), andome legumes (alfalfa, three kinds of clover, trefoil). The forbs, along with other native perennial grasses, come on their own.

ROTATIONAL GRAZING = CLEANER WATER
In a crop field, especially one that is not incorporating conservation practices, there is a great deal of runoff into local waterways, including sediment and nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus etc). In a well-managed pasture, water infiltrates into the soil and is used effectively by perennial plants. Any water that does not infiltrate is "slowed down" and filtered by the thick sward of plants above the surface before reaching nearby streams.

MANAGING AND DISPOSING MANURE FROM CATTLE RAISED ON FEEDLOTS CAN BECOME A COSTLY ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE. WHEN CATTLE ARE ROTATIONALLY GRAZED ON PASTURE, THEIR WASTE CAN IMPROVE SOIL FERTILITY. Rotational grazing spreads a manure’s nutrients and minerals across the paddock, improving soil organic matter without the use of commercial fertilizers. Other benefits of this intensive management system include reduced soil erosion, increased water absorption by the soil, and the potential to increase drought resistance. Finally, when well-controlled, rotational grazing can increase forage production up to 70 percent per year, while reducing overgrazing in the pasture.