Reducing Pasture Rest Days Is Expensive

From June of 2018, the breakdown of how much just a couple days less rest could cost. We all know that giving our pastures enough time to recover before grazing them again is critical to our success. But what may be news is how big the impact of just a few days less of recovery can turn into a problem that costs us forage and money. Dave Pratt, CEO of Ranch Management Consultants, specializes in helping ranchers look at their operations so they can make more profitable choices. In this video he talks about the cost of not giving forage enough time to recover, and how you might slide into a vicious cycle by paying attention when your cows say, "MOOOOVE US!" In this case, his example is a rancher moving one herd among 15-16 paddocks. That's more than enough paddocks to stop overgrazing, just the right number to have good animal performance, but not quite what you'd want if your goal is rapid range improvement. The rancher's plan was to give each paddock 90 days rest. But that's not what was actually happening. The first step in understanding the situation is to figure out how many days the herd should graze in each pasture. To do that, we divide 90 (the number of days of rest we want) by the number of paddocks. This tells us that the graze period is 6 days. 90 ÷ 15 = 6 But the cows had other ideas. On day four, they said, "MOOOOVE US!" and the rancher, looking at the pasture they were in and the pasture they were headed to decided he better listen to the cows

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One thought on “Reducing Pasture Rest Days Is Expensive

  1. Excellent article, Kathy.
    It all boils down to the three rules of profitable, long term grazing success and soil health improvement: long rest periods allowing at least full plant recovery, grazing with high stock density created by moving daily, and take half, leave half.
    They all work together and facilitate one another. As mentioned here, shorter paddock grazing periods will increase rest. So will taking half, and leaving half, however nonsensical that seems. We have tried it and it works.
    These truths are simply stated, but it takes an artful, committed grazier to accomplish the desired end.

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