Rotational Grazing is the practice of allowing a group of livestock to graze a portion of a pasture for a limited time and moving them to another portion on a regular basis. It is best to continue grazing the lots in the same sequence throughout the growing season. This practice gives the forage in the "resting" portions the opportunity to grow back, while also offering the best feed value from young tender grasses (before it dries and goes to seed). By keeping the livestock confined to a smaller area, it encourages them to eat more of the less desirable grasses and weeds.
Our system here at Turning Point Angus is Rotational Grazing, not to be confused with intensive grazing. The difference between the two systems is the intensive grazing would require smaller lots or more cattle per lot and moving the herd every two to three days. We move the group an average of once a week. The cattle will let you know when they are ready to move to the next lot! We generally make them wait at least one more day.
Our farm is divided into 3 main pastures and 3 paddocks; 2 pastures are then split even smaller to result in a grand total of 9 grazing lots. All pastures are fenced with 5 strands of high tensile wire (3 of which are hot) except for boundary fences which are mostly woven wire. The separations within the pastures are 2 hot strands of high tensile fence with posts spaced out at about 30 feet. For the first couple of years, we used poly tape and step-in posts to get a feel for how we wanted to break up the fields.
In the spring, we are usually able to use 3 of the 9 lots for hay. This is simply because the cows are not able to keep up with the new grass during this time of year.
We have installed 3 frost-free automatic waterers to which all feed from the main well. The cattle start their grazing closest to the waterers and then are moved to the lots farther away - they come back to the water source across where they have already grazed. (When they start to graze over the first lot, it's time to move.)
As we have stated before, here at Turning Point Angus, we are running about 20 cow/calf pairs on approximately 32 acres of pasture (see map). We would like to give credit to Ned and Lawrason Sayre at Waffle Hill Farm in Maryland for their assistance and advise in setting up our rotational grazing program. We are honored that our program will be featured during the Virginia Extension Planning District 7 Rotational Grazing Educational Field Day in June 1998.
Turning Point Angus
Route 2, Box 4259A
Berryville, Virginia 22611
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