Home Grazing Management Fencing Just a Few Fences Can Improve Pasture Health and Increase Stocking Rates

Just a Few Fences Can Improve Pasture Health and Increase Stocking Rates


This video comes to us from our friends Downunder.  It shows one sheep producer’s experience with using rotational grazing to improve his pastures.  With just three fences dividing a 45 hectare pasture (111 acres), John Keogh says, “We’ve picked up 4 DSE (dry sheep equivalents) per hectare and have seen a 15 to 20% return on investment.”

Pasture Use Patterns
What the pasture looked like before fencing.

When Keogh started this demonstration, there were three distinct areas in the pasture.  One area was under grazed, another was overgrazed and the last part was grazed just right.  The problem was self-perpetuating.  The under grazed area’s forage was tall and rank and unpalatable, so the sheep avoided it, which caused overgrazing in another part of the pasture.  So the under grazed area was always under grazed and the overgrazed area was always over grazed.  With fencing they could better manage the sheep’s movement through the pasture, and in no time forage use changed, the overgrazed area improved, and the under grazed area became more productive.  Now all areas of the pasture are producing as much as the optimally grazed area.

The result doesn’t surprise Tim Ekberg, advisor to the local producers .  “All the research shows that rotational grazing does increase winter stocking rates and can allow you to have a higher stocking rate through the year.”

It’s a great 4 minute look at the benefits of rotational grazing, along with some good news for our readers in arid regions.  It shows that you can make beneficial changes without lots of effort.  It also shows something we don’t often see: video of 1500 sheep moving through a rotationally grazed pasture.

Tablet users, here’s your link.

This project was supported by Meat and Livestock Australia. The organization delivers marketing and research and development services for Australia’s cattle, sheep and goat producers.


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Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.