Swath grazing is a useful tool for locking in the quality of pasture much later into the winter for year-around grazing. But it’s not for everyone.
Here is a map of where swath grazing will generally work in the US.
As you can see, this mostly covers the arid west. Yes, I think you could swath Spring growth in central California to use in Autumn, but you might need to have it used before the rainy season sets in. For those of you living in wetter areas, swath grazing probably won’t work. That’s because anything left in a windrow is very prone to rotting.
These photos are examples of using swath grazing on perennial pastures in the West.
These cattle are grazing alfalfa swaths at Circle Pi Ranch at Patterson, Idaho on Dec 21.
The cattle really love this stuff on a cold day in December. Cows are all fat and happy.
We cut the alfalfa-grass crop on September 28. Note how green and leafy it is on December 21.
This photo was taken February 25 on a ranch near Laramie WY. This was wild flood grass meadow. This ranch had fed no hay in over seven years when picture was taken. Again, note the green color still present in the swath.
The swaths have been grazed in this section on January 8. Not much left behind when the feed is budgeted out on 1 to 3 day strips. This ranch went from feeding hay for five months of the year to feeding no hay.
Like what you see? Last week’s article on swath grazing gives more on the how-tos.