I’ll leave the nit picking up to you guys and only say that this is pretty much on target–especially considering that Amanda obviously does not completely understand what “real” planned grazing is all about.
Notice I said “pretty much.” That’s because it falls apart completely when she gets down to the Lalman (OSU Extension beef cattle specialist–which identifies the problem) extensive vs. intensive grazing “study.”
That thing is so full of fallacies it would take another complete article to identify them all. — jtl, 419
Last week, I kicked off my weekly grazing series for the month of April. Each Thursday, we’ll explore production tips for ranchers to get more out of their pastures and hay fields. This week, we’re looking at extensive vs. moderate grazing methods, including rotational grazing and mob grazing, as well as the effectiveness of cross-fencing, and a whole lot more.
In case you missed it, here’s the first segment of the series: Grazing Series Part 1: 3 tips for spring hay & pasture management
Here are three grazing management systems to consider:
Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension forage specialist, says electric fences are the easiest and cheapest way to increase production from summer pastures.
Anderson writes, “Dividing pastures with electric cross fences gives you more control of when and where your cattle graze. It helps you encourage cattle to graze pastures more uniformly and completely, including areas they normally avoid. And, it can help you improve the health and vigor of your grass by giving it time to recover and regrow after each grazing. As a result, your grass production and pasture carrying capacity will increase. This will be especially valuable this year considering the currently high cost of pasture. So, as spring growth of your pastures begins to slow down, use your winter electric fence to try some extra summer cross fencing of your pastures. More grass, better gains, and better profits might be the result.”
2. Ultra-high stock density grazing can increase forage utilization.
Anderson says the popular method of mob grazing is often implemented incorrectly as ranchers are more likely just strip grazing or rotating very rapidly.
He says, “What is meant by ‘ultra-high’ mob grazing is debatable but many folks consider about 3,000 pounds of animals per acre as the minimum to qualify for this category. That means you need the equivalent of around 200+ cow-calf pairs per acre. Two hundred pairs will eat 4-5 tons of forage each day so they can stay on that small piece of ground for only a brief time. In fact, this mob of animals often is moved to fresh pasture several times each day.”
Anderson explains that mob grazing improves nutrient cycling and improves forage utilization because animals don’t have time to graze selectively in a short period of time. Plus, if done correctly, mob grazing reduces trampling, spreads manure uniformly, and helps control weeds.
3. Extensive vs. intensive grazing
Dave Lalman, Oklahoma State University Extension beef cattle specialist, studied extensive vs. intensive grazing to evaluate the best approach for producers in times of drought and high cost of land. In his study, Lalman considered extensive grazing which implements moderate grazing over a larger number of acres and an intensive system that utilizes cropland to reduce the amount of pasture needed.
Lalman found that the extensive grazing used more land but fewer inputs. His study used a moderate-to-low stocking rate of 13 acres per cow-calf unit. If stocking heavier than that, more hay will be needed. Meanwhile, Lalman’s intensive system used cover crops on cropland which ultimately produced more pounds of beef but also cost more money per animal.
Click here to listen to Lalman’s interview with Ron Hays to learn more about the OSU study on extensive vs. intensive grazing.
Which grazing method do you prefer to utilize in your pastures? Share your tips and success stories in the comments section below.
Don’t forget to tune in next Thursday for the third segment in our grazing series where we will focus on pasture management tips in times of drought.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
Murray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”
This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.
The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.
As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.
However, I was able to find a large number of essays, monographs, papers delivered at professional meetings and published from a multitude of sources. This book is the result. It is composed of a collection of research reports and essays by reputable scientists, economists, and legal experts as well as private property and free market activists.
The book is organized into seven parts: I. Environmentalism: The New State Religion; II. The New State Religion Debunked; III. Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; IV. Interventionism: Law and Regulation; V. Pollution and Recycling; VI. Property Rights: Planning, Zoning and Eminent Domain; and VII. Free Market Conservation. It also includes an elaborate Bibliography, References and Recommended Reading section including an extensive Annotated Bibliography of related and works on the subject.
The intellectual level of the individual works ranges from quite scholarly to informed editorial opinion.