How Mob Grazing Works for Dairies in the Northeast

Authors of this piece are Aimee Hafla and Kathy Soder of the USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in Pennsylvania, and Mena Hautau, Cooperative Extension, Pennsylvania State University. Ultra-high stocking density grazing, sometimes referred to loosely as “mob grazing”, is a grazing management practice generally characterized by high stocking density (units of live body weight/units of area; 500,000 + lbs/ac), small paddock size, mature forage, short grazing durations, and long forage recovery times (90 to 180 days). Those promoting this grazing strategy cite increased profitability through increased carrying capacity, improved animal performance, improved plant species diversity, and increased soil quality (improved organic matter, improved microbial action, and greater water holding capacity). Much of this anecdotal information has emerged from articles in farm press and trade publications and is specific to beef cattle in regions with climates much different than those in the northeastern U.S. We have received numerous inquiries from dairy farmers asking how to implement mob grazing on their farms, however there was no science-based information for this region from which we could make recommendations. What is the Definition of Mob Grazing? The term “mob grazing” can be quite ambiguous. A quick Google search of the term returns articles and blogs with descriptions of “high stock density”, “short duration grazing”, “high

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One thought on “How Mob Grazing Works for Dairies in the Northeast

  1. My Mob Cell grazing system is all down to timing, entry to the pasture may be at 2600kgDM/ha with a strict exit target of 1500kgDM/ha. In May the recovery from 1500kgDM/ha might take 28 days therefore I need 28 cells, but in November through to March the recovery may vary any where from 60 days to 130 days, depending on weather, soil and pasture condition. Therefore under strict grassland grazing these days will determine the number of cells required.

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