Selecting a grazing method early in the season and managing it properly can help beef producers succeed in achieving their summer production goals, said Dirk Philipp, associate professor of animal science and forage researcher for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“A grazing method should not be confused with a grazing system,” Philipp said. “A grazing method is a defined technique of grazing management designed to achieve a desired outcome in forage removal.”
The two most common examples of grazing methods, Philipp said, are continuous stocking and rotational stocking.
In continuous stocking, animals are kept always on the same area, Philipp said. It’s an easy and uncomplicated setup, useful when producers have time constraints or lack funds to invest in a more complex paddock setup. It’s also useful when there are insufficient fences or water sources to permit subdivision of grazing lands.
Continuous stocking can be used when available forage can withstand occasional overgrazing in some areas. Forages like toxic fescue and bermudagrass are persistent enough to endure such conditions, Philipp said.
Avoid using continuous stocking when:
Rotational stocking offers more control of forage use and defoliation, Philipp said. It is also more suitable for a solid, long-term forage management plan.
Some things to consider for a rotational stocking method, Philipp said, include adequate fences and water access, or a plan to install them.
Consider planting forages that benefit from cyclical defoliation, Philipp said. Novel endophyte tall fescue, native warm-season grasses or legumes are good choices. Forages with large regrowth potential, such as cool season grasses early in the season, are also suitable for use in rotational stocking, he said.
Philipp said rotational stocking is difficult to use if:
As the largest and most recognized agricultural news service in the Mid-South, AgWatch Network is the Deltaʼs premier source for agriculture and rural lifestyle related news updates for Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Through our multimedia platforms, AgWatch delivers timely relevant news to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals and other rural stakeholders. AgWatch provides daily in-depth coverage of the Deltaʼs row crop, livestock, sutainable farming, legislation, regulation, technology, research and educational issues.More