Switching from conventional to rotational grazing can increase asture efficiency from 30-35% to as high as 75%.
That's according to Stan Pace, a Mississippi State University agronomic crops agent.
“Cows are selective graziers, just like people,” says Pace. “They'll eat butter beans and leave the beets. When put in a selective forage situation, they'll overgraze some spots and undergraze others. Over time, you will have poor-quality grass and less total forage.”
He divided a 25-acre field in half, then subdivided one half into seven paddocks of 1.7 acres each. Twenty-five cows are rotated through the paddocks, spending three or four days in each one.
Forage utilization efficiency has increased 50-60%, says Pace. Rotating cattle every day would increase efficiency to about 75%, he adds.
“Rotational grazing improves both the production and quality of forage,” says Richard Watson, Mississippi extension forage specialist.
The practice has been recommended for years, but most producers don't do it. Due to recent high stored-feed prices, more are considering it, says Watson.