Cell Grazing: Part I. Introduction

By Dr. Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume, President & CEO, Land & Livestock International, Inc.

Grazing (Photo credit: EricMagnuson)

Cell Grazing goes by a multitude of names: There is Managing the Ranch as a Business with Restoration Grazing; Ranching for Profit; Holistic Management; Mob Grazing, Managed Grazing, Controlled Grazing; Management Intensive Grazing (MiG) and a dozen or so others each of which attempts to distinguish itself from the others in one way or another.

Over the years men like Stan Parsons, Greg Judy, Ian Mitchell-Innes, Alan Nation, Jim Gerrish, Joel Salatin Dave Pratt and a dozen others have carried the torch and have proven that “this stuff really does work.”

But the fact remains the fundamental concepts of this approach to grazing management were originally developed by Alan Savory, a Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) game biologist that had had no formal training in conventional range management. His approach is modeled after the way wild grazing animals (in the presence of pack hunting predators) use (and have used) the land (for millions of years). Sometimes I still instinctively refer to what I am about to write about as the “Savory Grazing Method” in honor of its originator.

The Savory Grazing Method provides the flexibility necessary to accommodate the plant’s physiological needs while increasing the efficiency of energy flow and speeding the nutrient cycling process. It does this by simulating the grazing pattern of large wild herds. This, in turn, is accomplished by concentrating animals onto small portions of the total available area for relatively short periods of time.

Such a program should never be rigid.

  • Stocking rates are adjusted as needed.
  • The livestock are never forced to eat everything. The fact is that, particularly during periods of active plant growth, they are allowed to be very selective and therefore are much better off nutritionally.
  • Livestock are never moved from one area on any particular calendar date. Instead total flexibility is maintained, where stock movements are dictated by current growth rates of range plants.

This is accomplished by fencing the management area into smaller pastures (called “paddocks” in Africa where this idea originated). There are some interesting and often overlooked phenomena about the number of pastures on a ranch. Part II. Range Rest picks up on some of those oversights.

Source: Transcript of a Tape Recorded Session Made at Alan Savory and Stan Parson’s Rancher School. Albuquerque, NM. Spring 1982.

Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume [send him mail] is President and CEO of Land & Livestock International, Inc

Copyright © 2013 by Land & Livestock International, Inc. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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11 Responses to Cell Grazing: Part I. Introduction

  1. This is a very,very interesting blog, I teach Forage sciencel at University and work with livestock, here, in your blog, you have the right words!! Thanks for share! Regards from argentina!


  2. Pingback: Cell Grazing: Part II. Range Rest (for those who are really into that sort of thing) | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  3. Pingback: Cell Grazing: Part III. Why More Pastures? | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  4. Pingback: Cell Grazing: Part IV. Stock Density vs. Stocking Rate. | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  5. Pingback: Cell Grazing: Part V. How Many Animals? | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  6. Pingback: Cell Grazing: Part VI. Myths, Misconceptions, and Untruths about SGM | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  7. Pingback: Managed Grazing – Part 1 or 5 – Introduction to Managed Grazing. | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  8. Pingback: Managed Grazing – Part 2 of 5 – Animal Management | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  9. Pingback: Managed Grazing – Part 4 of 5 – Managing Pasture Plants | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  10. Pingback: What do animals eat when you start with largely bare land? | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

  11. Pingback: Spraydipping cattle in central Africa | Land & Livestock International, Inc.

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