Modern Methods for Forage Improvement

A few weeks ago we introduced Robert E. Williams and his piece in the Journal of Range Management about best grazing management practices. Though “Modern Methods of Getting Uniform Use of Ranges” was written 68 years ago, the principles he includes still hold true today. In fact, much of what he writes could be considered “regenerative.” So, here is an “everything old is new again” look at grazing management, with some comparisons to what we do today. (And for those of you who don’t work on the range, just substitute the word “pasture” and it works for you too! :-)) In Part 1, Williams discussed watering facilities and fences. In Part 2 he looked at livestock management practices like herding and the use of salt to move livestock to different locations. Now, we'll finish off with a look at management practices to ensure a good supply of quality forage. Forage Improvement Practices Deferred and rotation grazing By deferring or rotating use of range areas, the grazing pattern of the range is broken. All parts of the range reach about the same stage of growth and succulence during the rest period. Deferred and rotation grazing permit utilization of less desirable plants when they are most palatable and makes it p

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One thought on “Modern Methods for Forage Improvement

  1. As anyone familiar with my lifestyle will tell you, I am not a big fan of technology. Mostly, I range from ambivalent to downright hostile toward modern gadgetry. That said, when it comes to what we were trying to accomplish 68 years ago (and today) I think the ranching industry has simply not paid adequate attention to two tech opportunities: fencing and water. When I look around the country, I see very little interest in installing the infrastructure necessary for managed grazing. Let’s face it, a few thousand dollars spent on smooth wire and black poly pipe can radically improve the economics and ecological function of our lands. It is a mystery to me why so few ranchers accept this “new” technology. Tradition? Laziness? Ignorance?

    Scratching my head here. I welcome any possible explanations.

    John Marble
    Crawfordsville, Oregon

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