Rotational grazing paddocks

Once forage in a paddock is depleted, stock will naturally gravitate to the next paddock once it’s opened. Be sure to have fence set up ahead of time so you’re not keeping your stock waiting for fresh forage.

May 2016 Edition

Benefits of Rotational Grazing
Rotational grazing can be simply explained as moving livestock between pastures (often called paddocks) every set number of days or as needed.
quickly subdivide pastures
Premier’s goats grazing alongside ElectroStop® 10/42/12. Electric netting allows our shepherds to quickly subdivide pastures.
The top 5 reasons to rotationally graze:

1. Improved animal management.
Animals rotated to new pastures in a low stress manner are easier to manage. When the forage in the original pasture is consumed, open the fence into the next paddock and stock will effortlessly move to newly offered pasture.

2. Less wasting of forage.
Less time spent on a single paddock results in reduced trampling and excretions on formerly edible plants.

3. Increase forage production.
By minimizing the continuous consumption of an individual plant, the plant’s leaves are left intact to collect sunlight for further regrowth.

4. Control less desirable plants.
By controlling paddock size, animals are encouraged to browse the plants in that location. This forces them to eat down nutritious plants they would normally ignore due to taste.

5. Increased soil fertility.
  1. Concentrates manure in the pasture and not by the water tank.
  2. Plants given time to recover and put down roots, which increases organic matter.

BONUS—Reduced soil compaction.
Less time on site and fewer paths form allow the soil to better absorb water and allow root growth.

For more information on pasture soils, read the article below by The Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Coordinator Tony Nye.
Putting probe into soil.
Assessing Your Pastures—Both Above and Below the Surface
By Tony Nye
State Coordinator for The Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program
Did you survive the winter snow and cold? Are you getting that “Spring Fever”? What about your pasture? Now is the time to start assessing the overall conditions to decide what management steps must be taken to have a productive pasture for the coming year. Looking at the overall pasture composition becomes an important step to determining if any improvement is necessary.

What is the percent of bare ground exposed? Is it due to heavy traffic, over grazing, poor drainage or poor fertility? What is the amount of grass to legumes throughout the pasture? Do you have a lot of weeds?
Read More
Tony Nye is the state coordinator for The Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for 29 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA. Tony and his family also own and operate a small livestock farm in Washington Court House, Ohio, raising purebred swine and meat goats.
* The views and opinions of the authors who have submitted articles to belong to them alone and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of, its staff or owners.
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