The health and productivity of livestock are literally under their feet: the plants that they eat, and the soils that sustain those forages.
The vitality of soils and plants depend, in turn, on what is returned from the animals in manure. Graze off too much of the plant cover, and the forages will thin out and become less desirable, and the soil will begin to erode.
Practices to maintain healthy soils and forages:
- Leave enough forage ungrazed.
- Give each pasture long rest periods between grazing.
- Arrange fences and watering to encourage even grazing in every pasture.
- Feed hay in pastures.
- Hay is fertilizer as well as feed.
Whether to buy it or bale it – and why; how to feed as little of it as possible; how to prevent waste.
Management Intensive Grazing
How many animals on how many acres for how long; theory, practice, and benefits of rotational grazing.
How to take a soil sample and where to get it analyzed; where to find soil survey maps; how to assess soil quality.