Rotational Grazing

Rotational Grazing

If you’re looking to improve the usefulness of pastureland, you’ve certainly come across the term rotational grazing. It’s the practice of containing and moving animals through pasture to improve soil, plant, and animal health. Rotational grazing is being used today to improve pasture usage and to make the most of limited resources.  It’s an old practice that’s getting a well-earned second look. Let’s explore it together and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

You can employ this special grazing practice with ruminants such as beef or dairy cattle, sheep or goats. The herds graze one portion of pastureland while allowing the other unused areas to recover from the grazing activity.  You might have 5 fields currently grazed and 20 fields resting. The length of time your herd grazes in a paddock depends on the size of the herd, the size of the paddock and local environmental factors. Resting grazed paddocks allows forage plants to recover and deepen their root systems. the end result is more usable pasture, healthier ground cover and hopefully more nutrients and moisture in the foliage

Left alone on a patch of land, animals like cattle can quickly destroy all signs of life, compacting the soil as they go. Resting grazed lands allows the vegetation to regrow. Rotational grazing is especially effective because grazers do better on the more tender younger plant stems. You constantly move the herd to take advantage of the freshest grazing available, while the already grazed areas get the chance to recover and regenerate. Rotaional grazing has a two-fold payoff. You get improved pastureland, and your livestock enjoy the fresh, tender grazing they love. It’s a definite win-win for everyone involved, especially the potential savings that go directly to your bottom line.

What About Weeds?

A well-managed grazing system ensures low pasture weed establishment. This is accomplished because established forage species take away the chance for weeds to thrive. With grass and clover already established, it’s harder for weeds to compete.

The soil sees big returns when rotational grazing takes effect. Grazing encourages plants to send out more and deeper roots. As a result, the continual sloughing off of those roots causes them to decompose in the soil.  The result is extra soil biomass and fertility and sequestered carbon from the atmosphere. This practice also helps prevent erosion and agriculture runoff. Plus, rotational grazing has a positive effect on soil temperatures.  Keeping the soil covered by vegetation helps keep the soil at an optimum temperature for all the microbes that break down organic matter. Livestock owners realize many tangible benefits with rotational grazing practices including a positive benefit to the bottom line.

Disadvantages of Rotational Grazing

The disadvantages of rotational grazing include the need for more fence construction. You’ll need to take time required to move animals. Plus, the need to have water and access to shade from each smaller paddock is an important consideration.  Thorough pre-planning is the key to success. The use of temporary fence inexpensively and effectively divides fields into the smaller paddocks. Your herd’s needs and your preference will guide that decision.  Continuous grazing requires less input and labor, but the benefits are less desirable than the end benefits of rotational grazing.

Infrastructure Costs

The type of grazing system that suits for your farm will depend a great deal on your goals and the best use of resources. Rotational grazing allows a producer a better opportunity to use livestock to manage grasses, legumes, and weeds. If the thought of miles of fencing to section off specific grazing areas is giving you headaches – consider flexible and less expensive portable fencing.  The use of portable fencing systems make life and fencing easier for rotational grazing. You’ll want to check out those portable and adaptable fencing solutions from a reputable dealer like Timeless Fencing.  Here’s their toll free number: 800-788-4709.  And the web address:

Drinking Post Automatic Waterers

No matter what grazing system you rely on to feed your livestock, be certain to rely on Drinking Post Frost Free Automatic Livestock Waterers.  A Drinking Post waterer works and installs like the more familiar frost-free yard hydrant. By keeping the operating valve 18 inches below the frost line, water comes up from below the frost line and drains down to below the frost line.  Your animals simply push the paddle to fill the bowl with fresh water.  When the animal finishes drinking, they release the paddle allowing all remaining water to drain below the frost line.  Best of all, you can connect your Drinking Post to any pressurized water line.

Drinking Posts work well installed along fence lines or in areas shared by multiple paddocks. That versatility makes the Drinking Post a perfect choice for flexible installation needs.  For rotational grazing and instances when you need portable water – the Drinking Post 3 foot portable model is the perfect choice.  You can set up and tear down quickly. The three foot portable Drinking Post comes with an adapter allowing it to be connected to any garden hose.  Portable units are also ideal for events, trail rides and competitions.

The Drinking Post works without the need for electricity or heating elements.  In permanent installations, the base of the Drinking Post is buried 18″ below the local frostline connected directly to a pressurized waterline. So all the water comes up from below the frostline and then drains back down below the frostline.  When the animal is thirsty, they will walk up to an empty bowl. They will push the paddle and water will start to fill the bowl immediately.  When the paddle is released, it drains completely.

No Freezing, No Algae

Since all the water drains away after each use, there is never any standing water in the unit – and since there’s no standing water, there’s nothing in there to freeze! That’s how we’re able to keep it frost-free year round without using any electricity. Also, since the Drinking Post fills with new, fresh water with every single use, it stays incredibly clean! The animals love the fresh, clean water and you won’t have to spend your time cleaning it to keep it that way. No standing water means no freezing, but it also means no algae growth! There is never any algae growth in the Drinking Post.

We offer several different sizes of Drinking Posts, 3′-10′. This is to accommodate animal height and your local frostline. Here is a link to our what size tool to help you decide which Drinking Post is best for you:

Once you’ve decided on a size, here is a link to our online shop for pricing and shipping costs:

Start your exploration today at:  Be sure to share this article using our social media links  and leave your comments below

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