Beef producers with surplus pasture growth might consider doing something other than haying some of it, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist.
Windrow grazing, also called swath grazing, is usually used in winter and is a hybrid between haying and grazing, says Anderson.
“To use it during summer, cut and windrow as much of your overgrown pasture as you think is needed to feed the cows for about one week,” he suggests. “Then use an electric cross fence to give them just a day or two supply at a time. When they’ve nearly finished all the swaths, cut another week’s worth until it’s all gone.”
A producer himself, he briefly tried the technique two years ago and had great results. “By giving the cows just a small area at a time they cleaned it up almost immediately,” he reports.
Anderson says swath grazing could double the number of animal days of grazing per acre by eliminating much of the trampling waste that would occur if cows were just turned into an overgrown pasture. Mob grazing probably could do the same thing, but would require moving fences several times a day.
“An added bonus is all the extra time your other pastures will have to regrow,” he says. “This will provide even more grazing later on.”
For more on the topic, read our Hay & Forage Grower article, “Swath Grazing.”