Planned Grazing System

Planting forage and using grazing rotations to maximize production and                                    
reduce sediment and nutrient runoff. Consider food, water and herd size.

How it works

Pasture is divided into two or more pastures or paddocks with fencing.
Cattle are moved from paddock to paddock on a pre-arranged schedule based on forage availability and livestock nutrition needs.

How it helps

Improves vegetative cover, reducing erosion and improving water quality.
Increases harvest efficiency and helps ensure adequate forage throughout the grazing season.
Increases forage quality and production which helps increase feed efficiency and can improve profits.
Rotating also evenly distributes manure nutrient resources.

Planning ahead

Is there enough water of good quality available in all pastures to meet the needs of your livestock?
Is the mix of grass and legumes adequate for your herd and soil types?
Will your pasture meet the nutrient needs of your cattle?
Have you considered management alternatives for periods of low forage production?

Tech notes

Plan your rotation so the same paddocks will not be grazed the same time year after year.
Plan rest periods so each pasture (paddock) will have adequate time to recover during the growing season to promote plant growth.
All livestock must be removed from pastures while they are being rested.

Maintenance

Keep fencing secure.
Some paddocks may need to be mowed or hayed during heavy growth periods.
Remove pasture water systems during winter if necessary, and reinstall them in the spring.
If herd size changes dramatically, update rotation schedule, paddock numbers and paddock size.
Apply fertilizer and nutrients according to soil tests.