Intensive grazing seen as viable option

US - The hay market has seen prices rise in recent times, with Iowa’s winter prices slightly higher than last year. Unfortunately, feed prices have become a problem for some operations, particularly those that don’t raise most of their own feed, and intensive grazing may be the solution.
calendar icon 1 March 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Beth Doran, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension based out of Orange City, said with generally high grain prices, she anticipates more acres planting to corn this spring, which offers the option of intensive grazing to cattle producers.

“Intensive grazing is becoming more common with producers who want to maximize total beef production on a given number of acres. It usually does not produce the largest individual weaning weights,”î she said.

“For those producers who want to maintain the same number of cattle, several things could occur. More producers may turn to intensive grazing, while others may turn to supplementation with co-product feeds to stretch pasture carrying capacities,î” Doran continued. “This supplementation may occur on pasture or in drylot for a short period of time. A few producers might resort to drylotting cows year-round, although this is not without challenges.î”

However, with managed intensive grazing, there is an increase in the level of management, Doran said.

“It is not only a skill, but an art to conduct intensive grazing. You are trying to optimize pasture productivity for the whole season. So, the level of stewardship is elevated.”î

Those considering intensive grazing should be aware of several factors. Doran said it’s important to match the number of animals to the carrying capacity of the pasture on a weekly basis.

“Weather and season will play a key role,î” she said. “In the spring, pasture carrying capacity usually exceeds the number of animals. Consequently, some producers will mechanically harvest part of the forage before it becomes too mature.

Source: Farm News
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.