Monday, May 27, 2024
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How Often Should You Move Your Herd?

Are you a competitive grazier? By that I mean, do you measure your success against other folks by how often you move your animals and the more moves you do, the better you must be?

That may not be the best way to measure your success, and it could be a good way to burn out. So here’s a collection of articles that might help us all control our competitive streak so we get the lives and results we want.

First, James Matthew Craighead reminds us that building soil health doesn’t require daily moves, and he gives us some pretty good advice.

You Do Not Have to Move Cows Every Day

John Marble adds to the story, taking a look at other things we might consider when deciding how often to move animals – like lifestyle and economics.

How Often Should You Move Your Herd? Lifestyle and Economic Considerations for Designing your Grazing Program

How often you move also depends on how fast your grass grows and how much forage you’re hoping to grow over the grazing season. The U.S. Dairy Forage Research question gives us some data to add to our “how often to move” equation.

How Short and How Often Should You Graze Your Grass?

You might want to consider your trample to graze ratio, how different pastures respond to grazing, and what your livestock look like.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Move the Cows?

Finally, recent research indicates that there are some places that might not be amenable to adaptive, multi-paddock grazing. I covered this in a series of stories about research at the Central Plains Experimental Range, a semi-arid ecosystem that receives 10 to 20 inches of precipitation annually. Their research noted that animals gained less weight in rotational grazing systems, and that forage production of cool-season grasses was not improved. You can read all the stories here, or take a look at their Adaptive, Multi-Paddock grazing research results below. Their work points out once again, that sometimes what we know to be true might not work in all places. Their primary take-home:

Stocking rate is the major driver behind how many plants are regrazed, NOT the grazing system.

Adaptive, Multi-Paddock Grazing May Not Be Better Than Continuous Grazing

Last but not least…the funnies!

Should you use dynamite to get rid of a dead, beached whale that’s stinking up the place? The answer, as with most research, is “It depends,” with a reminder to take proper precautions.

Exploding Whale

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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