Forage and Grazing Opportunities
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Forage and Grazing Opportunities. Craig Saxe UW – Extension, Juneau Co. What Grazing Management and Golf have in common. It’s something you do outdoors Doing it well is more difficult then it looks Many people “talk” a much better game than they play

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Forage and Grazing Opportunities

Craig Saxe

UW – Extension, Juneau Co.


What grazing management and golf have in common l.jpg
What Grazing Management and Golf have in common

  • It’s something you do outdoors

  • Doing it well is more difficult then it looks

  • Many people “talk” a much better game than they play

  • Studying about how to do it can be helpful, but real success requires practice and experience


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What Grazing Management and Golf have in common

  • Weather can have a huge influence on the results obtained

  • There are many products you can buy to better your game, but a real expert only needs a few basics

  • No matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement




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Grazing Formula

Sunlight + Rain + Green Plants = Plant Growth

Plant Growth + Grazing Animals = $$$

  • The Grazing formula involves:

  • What’s best for the grass

  • What’s best for the livestock

  • What moves you toward your goals!!!


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Traditional Pastures are often “Continuously Grazed”

This usually means:

  • Lower yields

  • Serious weed pressure

  • Erosion problems

  • General “poor” management


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In Rotational Grazing...

  • Pastures are subdivided into smaller areas (or paddocks)

  • A portion of the pasture is grazed while the remainder “Rests”

  • Paddocks are allowed to:

    • Renew energy reserves

    • Rebuild plant vigor

    • Improve long-term production


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Intensive Rotational Grazing...

Involves a higher level of management

  • Greater paddock numbers

  • Shorter grazing periods

  • Longer rest periods


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S

W

Traditional Pasture



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Lane

Intensive Rotational Grazing


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S

W

Exercise Paddock


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Monthly forage productionin 2-acre grass and grass-legume pastures

animal need

Grass Pasture

Grass-Legume Pasture


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Quality

Yield

ForageGrowth Curve

Best time to graze



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The Rest Period

  • Should vary according to plant growth

  • In general, must increase as growth rate slows

  • Relates closely to seasonal forage growth

  • Need to rotate between paddocks every 3-6 days


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Relationship of rest period to pasture mass during periods of rapid vs. slow growth

Lbs.

DM / acre

Optimum

Rest

Period

0 5 10 15 20 25

Period of fast plant growth (days)

0 10 20 30 40 50

Period of slow plant growth (days)


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Stocking Rate (animals/acre) of rapid vs. slow growth

  • Can use formulas for actual numbers

  • Thumb rule; 1000 pounds of animal per 2-4 acres

  • Intensive Rotational Grazing = 1000 pounds of animal to 1-1.5 acres

  • Traditional “Under-managed” pastures = 1000 pounds of animal to 5-10 acres


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Consider the New Fencing Technology of rapid vs. slow growth


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Useful Life of Fencing Materials of rapid vs. slow growth


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Sheep & Pasture of rapid vs. slow growth

  • Weaned lambs should get the best pasture

  • Weaned ewes can tolerate lower quality forage

  • In drought or overstocking conditions wean lambs early and put them on drylot

  • Utilize stockpiled forage


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Sheep & Pasture of rapid vs. slow growth

  • Manage parasites

  • Manage predators

  • Desired lamb weights in the US are difficult to obtain by pasture alone

  • Wean early


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Consider Grazing Other Livestock with Sheep of rapid vs. slow growth

Because:

  • It reduces parasitic infestation

  • Each will eat around the others’ droppings

  • It assures more uniform use of the pasture


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Diet Selection of Livestock of rapid vs. slow growth

a A mixture of grass and legumes

b Woody material


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Grazing Trial on Non-Lactating Ewes of rapid vs. slow growthContinuous vs. Restricted Grazing

* U of Minn.


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Grazing Management Tips of rapid vs. slow growth

  • Learn To Manage Your Pastures

  • Avoid over or under grazing

  • Apply fertilizer as needed (take a soil test)

  • Re-seed pastures if necessary


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Grazing Management Tips of rapid vs. slow growth

  • Commit Yourself Totally To Making It Work

  • Make The Transition Gradually

  • Solicit A Lot Of Advice, But Make Your Own Decisions

  • Stay Flexible And Keep Investments Low

  • Plan, Plan, & Re-plan


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