What is “Back-Grazing” and Should You Do It?

A common question for graziers is what does 'back-grazing' mean. Then their next question becomes for how long is back-grazing acceptable? Back-grazing means letting livestock go back across areas

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One thought on “What is “Back-Grazing” and Should You Do It?

  1. Thanks for these practical and simple reminders, Jim; I know you could share much more on each of these. The pictures help with me and my kids, to see what we’re working toward.

    Another tip in limiting back grazing: More (potential) watering points. We have a frost-proof waterer in every fenced field. (They straddle the fence, so one waterer can serve 2-3 fields.)
    When installing 6000 ft of water lines on our farm, my son had the foresight to put recessed quick connects every 120 feet within our biggest fields. So when we split our herd or big fields with polywire, we can still maintain higher density and limit backgrazing with movable, 75 gal, float valve waterers. Does take more time, but also helps spread manure evenly and keeps cattle in day 1-3 areas.

    On neighbors’ land with few to no fences and installed water, these moveable waterers also prevent our cattle from making ‘eyesores’ in neighbors’ pasture, through backgrazing or loafing.

    We were extremely dry last six weeks in SW VA, so much so we had to feed hay again last two weeks. The field with hay became a sacrifice area, with backgrazing for 10 days. Now that rains have returned, cattle moved and most forage growing well again, that sacrifice area has not, the crowns of those plants eaten repeatedly for 10 days. Same with neighbors who did not limit backgrazing, they’re still feeding hay. So we can see how long it’s taking for this 10-day backgrazed field to recover, on one side of the fence vs. the other. Overgrazed areas can be instructive, if I remember to compare them over time to those treated better…

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