Swath Grazing – Creating the Swaths that Cows Prefer

Meet Taylor Grafton, Ranch Manager for the Bar K Ranch in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada. In this 8:02 video, he gives us the ins and outs of swath grazing. This is a technique of mowing pastures into swaths as a winter feed source for cattle or other livestock. The first thing to keep in mind is that creating swaths for swath grazing is different than swaths intended for baling or silage. To "set the table" for winter grazing, the cows need to be able to find the swaths easily, especially in deep snow. Taylor's goal is to create swaths that are tall enough that when it snows, the cattle can see little sprigs sticking up here and there. Single or double swaths? Because of his concerns about snow, Taylor general double swaths pastures. This reduces the workload for cows digging through snow and expending energy to find their food. He's found that with single swaths under snow, cattle will skip every other one, or only dig out the easy ones and then complain. When he makes less work for them, they do better through the winter. On the other hand, too much double swathing can reduce manure distribution and increase waste. That can be offset by recording the locations in the pasture and then starting them at different location the next year. What's a go

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2 thoughts on “Swath Grazing – Creating the Swaths that Cows Prefer

  1. I have been reading SMITLLA’S SENSE OF SNOW again. With a daughter living in Iqaluit, I am becoming more conscious about the types of snow, effects of wind, etc. I was glad to hear from you, Mr. Grafton, about swath grazing in the Prince George region where snow doesn’t blow as much, uncovering swatches but instead coming down “straight” and staying there for a relatively long period of time.

    Thank you for sharing insights that apply to a region with a unique climate pattern.

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