Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How do your animals graze?

Did you ever take the time to actually watch your animal graze? Cattle, sheep, goats, and horses all graze differently. Knowing how your animals graze is a very important part of your grazing program.Cattle are middle grazers, typically enjoying only grass species. Sheep and goats enjoy grazing weeds and enjoy grazing close to the ground. Goats are more browsers, consuming brush, shrubs, and weeds. 

Understanding how your livestock species graze allows you to know how long you can leave them in a certain pasture to graze. It is very easy to leave livestock on the pasture too long when you do not watch your animals graze.  All livestock should be moved at a rate based on pasture growth and season. If animals are not moved in a timely manner (when plants are 3-4 inches high) overgrazing will occur. Removing livestock from pastures at the appropriate time helps grass recover and rest. This encourages more forage growth and less weeds.

Here is a clip from a dairy farmer that was watching how his dairy cattle graze:

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