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Mob Grazing in South Dakota Ten Months of the Year

Charlie and Tanya Totten rent 4,000 acres of flat, fertile pasture land and rocky river breaks near Chamberlain, South Dakota. In this video he talks about how he manages his cattle and his land to improve productivity and natural resources.

Charlie says, “I’m not doing it for my grand kids. I’m doing it for me because it’s rented land and I have to make money in a short time period.” Key to his success is mob grazing and figuring out how to use his land creatively. “This flat land up on top will run twice as many cows as the steep river hills just a half mile away. Some of that poorer land is a long ways from water, so moved it into dormant season grazing when cows didn’t take as much water in the cooler part of the year.”

The Tottens mob graze 400 acres a year, letting pastures rest for a year before they’re grazed again. Their goal was to double production over a season of grazing, not by doubling the cow herd, by by doubling time they graze, so they’re out in pasture 10 months of the year.

In this 4:31 video, Charlie talks about his ranch, and the soil health and the plant life that he’s improved thanks to his grazing management. It’s part of the Profiles in Soil Health series from the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Conservation Districts of South Dakota.

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