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How to Graze During the Dormant Season (Summer or Fall)

By   /  October 26, 2020  /  3 Comments

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Whether it’s fair or not, people seem to believe that northwest corner of America is a fairly uniq
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About the author

John Marble grew up on a terribly conventional ranch with a large family where each kid had their own tractor. Surviving that, he now owns a small grazing and marketing operation that focuses on producing value through managed grazing. He oversees a diverse ranching operation, renting and owning cattle and grasslands while managing timber, wildlife habitat and human relationships. His multi-species approach includes meat goats, pointing dogs and barn cats. He has a life-long interest in ecology, trying to understand how plants, animals, soils and humans fit together. John spends his late-night hours working on fiction, writing about worlds much less strange than this one.


  1. Tom Krawiec says:

    You are spot on John! (In my humble opinion.) Your explanation of how critical spring grazing is to setting up dormant season grazing is probably the best description I have ever read. It is a point that often gets missed when it may be the most important piece to effective year round grazing. One point I would like to add, in my experience, not having a back fence allows animals to graze the thatch layer that is required to store moisture & protect the soil. Earlier this fall I toured a ranch that had large tracts of land with 2-3″ of thatch. There had not been any rain for three weeks and the daily temperature had been 30-34C (86-93F). When I dug down, the thatch was moist and I could make mud balls with the soil. In 20 years of grazing I had never seen anything like it! It certainly opened my eyes to what is possible. The one time I came close to this type of ground cover (bucking horses grazed 55ac of alfalfa in July-September), the cattle removed all the thatch in November/December because they had to walk through the paddock for water. The thatch could have been saved with an alley through the paddock.

  2. Dennis Karp says:


    Really enjoy the articles. I too live in western OR. Would love to meet you in person and see your operation. Maybe we can discuss you being a “mentor”. 😬🤠 Thanks!


  3. red Slusser says:

    What about winter rye? On smaller pastures, seeding it in isn’t a challenge, and it thrives in cool weather and even with little rain. Gabe Brown, S. Dakota, seeds it in a cocktail on fields for a cover and grazes it all winter.

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