Setting Up an Intensive Grazing System That Works – Pasture Recovery Periods

Pasture Recovery Period Considerations or "Building the Dance Hall" In some ways, managing an irrigated intensive grazing system is a snap. There is no leapfrogging from one paddock over another and then back again to compensate for varying soil water holding capacities. In other words, effective irrigation tames the soil-moisture wild card. As graziers, our ultimate goal is to install management strategies and inputs that create a constant flow of high-quality forage that can be consumed by our livestock. Constancy is key. What Western climes lack in rainfall (try 10 inches or less a year) is made up for in abundant sunshine, the energy driver of all plant systems. By maintaining proper soil fertility and supplying crop irrigation, the grazier out West can sustainably produce grass at an astounding rate. This opens up a huge window of opportunity: intensive grazing. How to Build the Dance Hall The management of intensively grazed pastures is directed and propelled by only two factors – the pasture-recovery period and the paddock-grazing period. The first is the framework and is akin to the dance hall, and the second is the lively dance that is performed. As in all things fun, the two are interwoven, but there are some rules. Rule number one is build the dance hall! The pasture recovery period is

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