Is Swath Grazing for You?

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 general

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7 thoughts on “Is Swath Grazing for You?

  1. Jim, On your US map you have a brown line marking the “greatest opportunity for swath grazing” but inside this line you have a blue line marked “marginal opportunity”. Could you explain this as I live right on this blue line in central South Dakota and have done bale grazing but am very interested in swath grazing. Thanks

    1. Hi Brett,

      I did that just to aggravate you….

      The challenge is east of that line fall rains are much more common & the likelihood of temperatures rising well above freezing in late fall & early winter can lead to more deterioration of the windrow than west of that line. In any given year, the wet/dry fall line migrates from east to west & so consistent results are harder to predict in that transition zone.


      1. Jim you are safe. I believe I am a bit west of the blue line. Have you had experience with raking two windrows together. Making a bigger windrow, possibly exposing less hay to the weather. I realize another cost involved. Thanks, Brett

        1. Brett,

          The higher the quality of the cut forage, the greater value to raking two or more windrows together. Plain old meadow grass is probably not worth the extra cost of raking. Alfalfa or a cover crop cocktail is generally worth raking.

          The deeper the snow you are likely to experience, the greater the value of raking two or more together. A taller, boxier windrow has greater accessibility in deeper snow.


    1. Matt,

      That is an ongoing challenge with elk being a much greater challenge than deer. Keeping up human activity from daylight to dark is helpful. Driving or riding through the area after dark & before daylight is even better. If you do that continuously for a couple fo weeks, a lot of time the elk will go look for a more peaceful location.

      Trying to fence them out is either expensive if you start to build permanent fences on your perimeters . It can be done with 3-D electric fences, but those are a little trickier to construct.


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