There are many factors to consider when you seek to get the best results from your grazing program: the types of animals you’re grazing, the type of pasture you have available, the weather, the economy, your operational goals and many more.

Grazing Management Plan
When making your grazing management plan, you must consider what it will take to make your animals most productive; what it will take to make your pasture most productive; and how you can best match the nutritional requirements of your animals with the nutritional potential of your pasture. There is no one right answer to these questions. In fact, as your conditions change, you need to be able to adapt your management plan to these changes.
When considering the animals you have on the pasture, it is important to remember that the nutritional demands of animals can be quite different. Nursing mothers need much higher energy forage than they do when they’re dry. If you are grazing stockers for weight gain, they will need more energy from the grass than if you are grazing to maintain or supplementing for weight gain.
The nutritional value of your grass is influenced by several factors including its height and weather conditions. Leaves are essential for plants to gain energy and grow. The greater the size of the leaves, the better able the grass is to grow. Leaves also are the most nutritious and highest energy part of the plant for your animals to consume. The stems beneath the leaves are lower in energy. Grazing pasture of mostly stems will be less productive than grazing leafy pasture.
In addition to considering the nutritional value of the grass, you must also keep in mind the survivability and strength of your pasture. If too much of the leaf is grazed, it will be difficult for your pasture to gather energy and recover quickly, particularly in stressful weather. Grasses store energy in their roots and growth points that aid recovery. However, if pasture is grazed too closely, the grass won’t have enough stored energy and it will be very difficult for your pasture to recover. Generally, the growth point for cool season grasses, such as fescue, is closer to the ground than for warm season grasses, such as switch grass.
Both continuous grazing and rotational grazing can be used effectively to balance these issues and each offer opportunities to adapt your practices to your conditions. Continuous grazing relies on the animals to move around and selectively graze areas of your pasture. If too many animals are placed on a continuously grazed pasture, they are less able to selectively graze and over-grazing can result. Rotational grazing forces animals to different grazing areas and allows fallow areas to recover. However, this requires more fencing and effort. A variation of rotational grazing is to put animals requiring the highest energy forage on a pasture first. After they have consumed the best of the leaves they are moved and animals requiring lower energy forage are introduced.
For more information on the information found here visit for a copy of “Grazing Management Concepts and Practices,” published by the Florida Cooperative Extension Service.


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