Grazing represents the cheapest way to feed ruminants on a cost per pound of nutrient basis. Stored feed is usually the single largest item in livestock budgets, and cost or amount of stored feed is usually the best prediction of potential profitability in most beef operations.
Controlled grazing, intensive grazing, management intensive grazing, rotational grazing and intensive rotational grazing are only a few of the terms to describe intensive grazing.
Rotational grazing can help farmers to directly affect net profit by increasing animal products per acre, reducing costs of machinery, fuel and facilities, reducing supplemental feeding, reducing wasted pasture, improving the monthly distribution and yield of pasture, improving the distribution and use of animal waste and fertilizer, improving botanical composition of pasture, minimizing the daily fluctuations in intake and quality feed and more efficiently allocate pasture to animals based on quality needs.
Some benefits of more intensive grazing include better utilization of forages, increased yields, improved quality, extending the grazing season, better stand persistence, improved animal performance, better animal health, more environmentally friendly and greater economic returns.
Grazing is actually a tool or method that allows producers to efficiently harvest the forage with livestock and maintain the pasture in a productive state. Several methods can be used and each method requires management control to be successful.
The intensity of rotational grazing can vary greatly. This involves variable stocking rates that may be achieved by altering animal number per acre, altering the size of the land area to a fixed number of animals, harvesting surplus forage for hay, haylage or round bale silage and/or mowing excess growth and weeds.
LaRue county cattle producers should examine their grazing needs, pasture availability and feed costs to determine if more intensive grazing would benefit their farming operation.