Written by Will Lathrop, this fact sheet summarizes the Kerr Center’s experience with and recommendations for grazing management. It covers manipulating stock density to influence forage utilization rate, and the relationship between pasture number and…
Management intensive grazing (aka cell grazing, rotational grazing, or controlled grazing):
- builds fertility
- recycles nutrients
- conserves energy
- emphasizes management over the system or its components
Rotational grazing: moving livestock from pasture to pasture, allowing each pasture to rest before being grazed again.
Changing from continuous to rotational grazing allows livestock producers to
- increase stocking rates
- extend the grazing season
- decrease labor
- improve animal health (lower parasite loads)
- reduce input costs
Management decisions revolve around the period of rest plants receive during the growing season. During the rest period, plants are allowed to recover from grazing and produce new growth.
The length of rest varies with season and forage species. It depends on the amount of forage left in the pasture after the animals are moved. Pastures will recover faster and produce more usable forage when sufficient forage is left after grazing.
Rotational grazing builds links between the health of soils, plants, and animals.
The Kerr Center introduced rotational grazing to southeastern Oklahoma. The system works – soil fertility has been maintained at generally the same levels since 1986 without adding costly fertilizer.