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Teaching Cattle To Graze Like Goats

By   /  February 4, 2019  /  4 Comments

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Not so long ago, I visited Mike Roberts, the ranch manager at Waldron Ranch in Alberta, Canada. Mike
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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.

4 Comments

  1. John Marble says:

    A fine example of turning lemons into lemonade, and a great demonstration of the power of managed grazing to affect ecological change. Undoubtedly, Mike Roberts’ neighbors think he is crazy. And that’s a great indicator of something interesting happening.

  2. rancher Mike says:

    I sure like this idea. Here in southern Missouri we have a buckbrush as well. I have a portable mineral feeder that I will use to try this technique with my Corriente cows. They seem to have a tendency to browse more anyways. We dislike the buckbrush because it seems to be the favorite home to seed tick populations. Getting infested by seed ticks is an unforgettable experience.

    I wonder if in areas that are brushier than others, buckbrush, multifloral rose etc, if you could mitigate the problem by getting animal impact from unrolling and feeding hay on it.

    I think Steve Freeman mentioned to me one day that if you can change the soil chemistry, biology, organic matter content by using the right grazing techniques, in doing so many of the woodlands/forest plant types may no longer find that soil to be a favorable environment to grow.

  3. Steve Nelle says:

    Thank you for this article about cattle and brush. Most ranchers tend to dislike brush and spend millions to kill it. A more balanced approach is to see that it has considerable nutritional (as well as ecological) value and can materially augment the diet of cattle, not to mention sheep and goats. In Europe there still exist in small number the wisent, or European woods bison that live in forested land and naturally eat large amounts of browse. So it is not that much of a stretch to train domestic cattle the nutritional rewards of eating brush. However, in Texas at least, the rancher has to be careful not to go overboard – deer hunting generates far more net income per AU than cattle ranching. Deer subsist primarily on browse and their habitat and nutrition and population can be harmed by excessive consumption of browse by livestock. In all things – moderation.

  4. Sandra Kay Miller says:

    Running calves with goats in the browse paddocks always gave me the best gains on the calves as they were taught to browse as well as graze.

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