What is rotational grazing?
Rotational grazing is the shifting of livestock to different units of a pasture or range in regular sequence to permit the recovery and growth of the pasture plants after grazing. 1
What this means is that we section our fields into sections and allow our herd into one section at a time.
Why rotational graze?
By rotational grazing our cattle we are able to decrease labor and feed cost. It makes sense that we are able to decrease feed costs as we are no longer purchasing grain or hay to feed our herd. Instead, they graze for much of the year on the crops we have available. In addition, we bail hay from these same fields, as well as neighboring fields to supplement winter grazing. While we still have more than our fair share of farm chores. We do notice rotational grazing saves time as we are not moving feed around to the herd all the time.
This farmland has been in the family for many years now. For much of that time, the land was rented to corn and soybean farmers. This led to lots of runoff and erosion of the soil. By converting our fields to a diverse cover crop of different grasses and constituting rotational grazing we are adding back to the soil. You can no longer find runoff or erosion in our fields. In fact, they can displace much more water now than they could in the past.
The main benefit of rotational grazing is that it allows time for forages to grow and regrow. Believe it or not, cattle have taste preferences and will eat what they like the most first. This can lead to overgrazing and kill that forage. By instituting a rotationally grazed system you allow those forages to regrow. Thus getting more of the grasses you want to see more of.
We could go on and on about the benefits of rotational grazing; however, the above are good enough reasons to believe we should continue doing it. That coupled with our favorite reason for rotational grazing is the increased relationship with our cattle. These days, if you walk into the pasture the herd will come right to you. Whether that’s because they trust us or because they think we are letting them into another paddock is anyone’s guess. We prefer to think they like us! 🙂
If you would like to see the benefits yourself feel free to reach out and schedule a time to visit the farm!