Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeGrazing ManagementComparing Rotational and Continuous Grazing - A Time Lapse Video

Comparing Rotational and Continuous Grazing – A Time Lapse Video

Seeing how two pastures function side by side under different management is one good way to consider what kind of management we’d like to implement. That’s why I like this video from the Natural Resources Conservation Service staff in Clark, South Dakota. They set up a camera on a fence line and took time lapse photos from May to December of 2018 to see how the vegetation responded to continuous grazing (on the right side of the fence) and rotational grazing on the right. They wanted to be able to show folks the difference, not just in the amount of forage produced, but also what happens through the winter.

The left side is grazed once during the year, from September 20 through October 1. Because the camera wasn’t on all day every day, but only took photos during part of each day, you won’t see all the cattle grazing on the right side, but you will see the changes in the vegetation. The rotational grazing side of the fence has good wildlife cover and no weed pressure throughout the growing season. When it snows, the grass is catching the snow and keeping the moisture on the pasture for the next growing season.

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.


  1. I was also wondering about the stocking rates for example was the rotational system stocked for the paddock or the whole unit? The continuous is obviously stocked for the whole unit.

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