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Here’s What Reducing Pasture Recovery Periods Can Cost You

By   /  June 4, 2018  /  3 Comments

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We all know that giving our pastures enough time to recover before grazing them again is critical to
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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

3 Comments

  1. John Marble says:

    This is a great discussion, but I think the (my) reality is even more complex. My rest periods vary seasonally: a couple of months at 30 days, a few more at 60-90, and a lengthy period of no grazing during the winter. Also, during each of those different season I am trying to accomplish different goals with plants and animals. Bottom line, I think it is imperative that I am conscious of forage conditions in not just the next paddock, but in all of my paddocks. I think the most important grazing work I do is attempting to put eyes and feet on the ground in every paddock on a weekly basis. Currently, I am managing about a hundred permanent paddocks, so taking weekly inventory is really hard. But making grazing residence time decisions (which greatly impacts rest time) requires that I be looking ahead many, many moves into the future.

  2. Rob Havard says:

    This is what Andre Voisin called untoward acceleration in the 50’s.

    Other options would be to subdivide those pastures further. That $1000 of hay saving would buy you what you needed to do that.

    If they are set on six day moves in the summer then give them more and leave a bigger residual and then the regrowth should be quicker requiring a shorter rest period and increasing stocking rate.

  3. Patrick Tobola says:

    Assuming that the only problem that this rancher had was that his cattle would cut way back on consumption after four days of grazing and would start bawling for him to come move them, I feel there is a better solution to the problem than subdividing the paddocks if the rancher really wants to stay with moving the animals only every six days.

    Richard and Tina at Hand ‘n Hand Livestock solutions have come up with a helpful list of behaviors that indicate that the animals need to be driven because their minds are not quite right. One of these is the animals will start bawling when they see you. Their recommendation is to work with them by properly driving them as often as it takes to change these behaviors. Of course you will need to invest some time in learning how to properly drive your animals, but you will be able to save time in the future by not needing to subdivide the paddocks and also there will be an added benefit of better animal performance when you start to handle your animals this way.

    I have a situation where my animals are periodically moved from a large pasture to a small paddock and in the past the animals would start bawling and quit eating after a short time. I’m not very good at driving my animals yet, but just by working with them a little bit, they would calm down and start to graze again. I have done this a few times over the last year and the animals are getting better every time they go into a small paddock and the animals are staying satisfied and full for the duration of the planned graze period which can be as long as seven days.

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