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A Change in Grazing Management Can Show Results Quickly

By   /  October 9, 2017  /  Comments Off on A Change in Grazing Management Can Show Results Quickly

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JimOnAJumpDriveIf you ever thought, “Seeing the results of a change takes so long, I’m not sure it’s worth it,” take hope from this illustration from Jim of what can happen in just a couple years.

Here is an illustration of managed grazing beginning to heal an overgrazed landscape in the Nebraska Sand Hills. On the left side of each photo is a neighboring set stocked, low stock density pasture. On the right side is shorter grazing period a moderate stock density. With a little more infrastructure development, they will move to even shorter grazing periods and higher stock density.

We had posted the first two photos in this sequence last fall. I visited McGinn Ranch near Anselmo NE again last week and took the next photos in the series. More perennial grasses are taking hold in response to managed recovery periods and time controlled grazing. This is just two years into the change in grazing management.

This is how this spot looked in 2014 when I made my first visit to McGinn Ranch. Their side of the fence looked pretty much like the neighbors side because the management was the same. Set stocked for several months at a low stock density.

gerrish-mcginn-ranch-2014
This was November of 2015 following a single season of management-intensive grazing. The first season there were quite a few annual grasses and forbs making up that ground cover on the right side of the fence.
gerrish-mcginn-ranch-2015
This August 2016 just ahead of the herd coming in on the pasture. The left side has had cattle on it continuously since May.
gerrish-mcginn-ranch-2016
Sand bluestem is one of the perennial native species recolonizing the blowout.
gerrish-sand-bluestem
Sand paspalum is another native warm season grass taking hold. We also saw Scribner’s panicum, blue grama, sideoats grama, switchgrass, tickle grass, and western wheatgrass reestablishing themselves on the loose sand. Note the fineness of the sand here.
gerrish-other-mcginn-grasses
That’s just two short years!
Do you have pictures and examples to share with your fellow On Pasture readers? Send Kathy an email to find out how you can get them into a future issue of On Pasture!

natglc-logo-1Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible. Click on over to see the great work they do for all of us. Thank them for supporting On Pasture by liking their facebook page.

SAVE THE DATE

The National Grazing Lands Conference is scheduled for December 2 – 5, 2018 in Reno, Nevada. It’s one of the best conferences we’ve been to, so you’ll want to be there!

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About the author

Jim Gerrish is the author of “Management-Intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming” and “Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide to Year-around Grazing” and is a popular speaker at conferences around the world. His company, American GrazingLands Services LLC is dedicated to improving the health and sustainable productivity of grazing lands around the world through the use of Management-intensive Grazing practices. They work with small farms, large ranches, government agencies and NGO’s to promote economically and environmentally sustainable grazing operations and believe healthy farms and ranches are the basis of healthy communities and healthy consumers. Visit their website to find out more about their consulting services and grazing management tools, including electric fencing, stock water systems, forage seed, and other management tools.

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