What is a Grazing Wedge and What Do You Do With It?

In my previous On Pasture article I discussed taking a pasture inventory on a bi-weekly basis and using that information to help us make better grazing management and forage utilization decisions. The next step in the process is creating a grazing wedge. A grazing wedge is a simple visual depiction of what you have available for grazing in all of your pastures. Once the data is entered into the spreadsheet, it can be sorted from highest to lowest available stockdays/acre (SDA) creating ‘the grazing wedge’. Here is an example grazing wedge with available stockdays/acre on the y-axis and paddock ID on the x-axis.   It shows we have a range in forage availability from 80 SDA to -5 SDA. The -5 designation says this paddock was grazed too short and will need additional recovery time. You can also see we have paddocks at various stages of recovery. Let’s look at what else a grazing wedge can tell us. The following wedge was from May 5. I use three critical inventory levels in making grazing management decisions. The first is the ‘begin grazing’ threshold and is shown as a green line. This is the minimum amount of forage I want in a pasture before I begin grazing. For irrigated or high natural rainfall pastures, I use 30 stockdays/acre. We are typically out on pasture around May 5-10 on this ranch, but this year we had a very slow spring. The inventory taken on May 5 told me we were still several days and maybe even a

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One thought on “What is a Grazing Wedge and What Do You Do With It?

  1. Hi, Thanks for the good practical article! I have one question about where you say:
    “I know I need to adjust my management by giving the herd a little smaller area each time I move them (usually daily in our operation) over the next week or so and try to leave a little more residual so they recover more quickly.”
    This seems like a hard thing to do since leaving them in a smaller area would seem to leave less residual.
    Can you elaborate on occupation period and other strategies for leaving more residual and promoting regrowth?


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