You Don’t Have to Practice Yoga to Be a Flexible Grazier!

In most livestock operations, the largest expense is winter feed. As a grazier, it has been my goal to plan a grazing rotation so there is high quality, high volume forage available in the fall and winter. This fall has tested my flexibility once again and has once again shown me the importance of having good quality stockpiled forage. Last spring, I moved to another ranch. The first day of employment was May 28. When I arrived, there were no cattle out on grass! I started to panic a bit because I knew if the grass did not get clipped within the next three weeks, there would be crap for fall/winter grazing. Getting cattle out and moving became an imperative! It did not matter that the fencing was a mess, that cows were still calving, or that there were no hired hands. Somehow, I had to start clipping grass. In three days, there were 2200 head of cows and yearlings out on grass. That was June 1. Since June 1 a lot has happened, just like a lot happens every year. This year it started raining June 6 and hasn’t quit. It has been a difficult year to be a farmer making hay and a rancher buying hay. This is to say, hay quality has gone down, but the price has gone up. Here is where good quality stockpile really shines. Before I get into the economics of stockpiled forage, let me explain my method for stockpiling forage. This is a stockpile of slough grass that is normally unpalatable by was grazed this year b

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4 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Practice Yoga to Be a Flexible Grazier!

  1. Tom,

    Thanks for.fhis great article and for sharing your experiences so openly.
    One thing I’d like to inquire about, is how you achieving your clipping evenly across the paddock?
    What technique do you use for this generally?

    Thanks again. Stockpile is the way.

    All the best

    1. Hey Neils. I don’t achieve an even graze. All I’m asking the animals to do is the best job possible in the time they are in the paddock. Most times it looks like they have barely touched the grass and they are on to another paddock. As I pointed out in the article, concentrate on your grazing plan and basically forget about the grass during the first rotation. There is lots of talk during the spring about haying or clipping excess grass, in my experience, the best thing to do is just keep moving. As a side note, when building new paddocks, my goal is to have long narrow paddocks. Between each paddock the fence has a gate at each end and one in the middle. During the first and sometimes second rotation, all the gates are left open so the animals can roam and clip a larger area. It allows you to get your grass clipped and frees up labour because the animals don’t have to be moved as often.

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