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From 60% Bare Ground to Less Than 10% – Grazing Management Made the Difference

By   /  September 3, 2018  /  Comments Off on From 60% Bare Ground to Less Than 10% – Grazing Management Made the Difference

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Pat GuptilThis 2015 Classic comes to us from Pat Guptill who will be one of the speakers at this year’s National Grazing Lands Conference in Reno, Nevada. He’s just one of more than 50 producers who will be talking about innovative grazing techniques. We hope he’ll inspire you to join us in December! Register before October 16 to get the reduced rate of $395, and bring a friend or spouse with you for just $175 more.

In this 7:40 video, Pat Guptill of Quinn, South Dakota shares his experience with his change from a rotational grazing plan to mob grazing saying, “What we’ve done here, it’s just baffling to me, the number of cattle we can graze.”

After doing things the same old way for years, Pat said he was never happy with how the grass looked.  Now they move their cattle very day, trying to keep the ground covered or with litter. He says his land and his cattle are both healthier.

Pat describes how he got started figuring out how large his paddocks should be, and how he expands the pasture sizes as the forage matures so he can keep the best forage possible in front of his stock. He also shares how he keeps his stock watered.

Under this type of rotation he’s taken his pastures from 60% bare ground to less than 10% and sees more natives and a deeper green color to his pastures.  While he says this may not be the way to do things for everyone, he’s seen lots of benefits and would like others to use his example, along with an open mind, to figure out how to make improvements in the ways they graze on their own places.

Thanks to South Dakota State University’s iGrow program, and the SARE and CIG grants that made this video and the associated research possible.

Here’s a Big Thanks to the On Pasture Community members providing financial support!

Community-wide support keeps On Pasture online. If it’s an option for you, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. Being able to show that kind of support is especially helpful when we’re approaching outside funders.


Thanks to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for making this article possible.

We hope you’ll join the On Pasture crew at this year’s conference in Reno. We love it because there are so many producers sharing their experience from all across the country. We always learn a lot! Remember – registration goes up to $475 on October 16!

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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.

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