Regrowth after grazing relies on root and crown energy reserves, it is as nature functions and its why I want fat roots in my forages. The theory that says that regrowth depends on leaving enough photosynthetic material, or leaves, un grazed is not correct.
That theory comes from a study done by Crider in 1955 in Missouri by clipping at short intervals of less than 30 days on young annual grasses as a monoculture that hadn't had the opportunity to grow a full root system before the experiment started. No cattle were used, only scissors; what could be wrong with that? No regrowth enhancing saliva, no tugging of plants by cattle, no manure or urine, no hoof effect of high stock densities. In short, a very incorrect experiment which is the basis of the take half leave half actual recommendations by most grazing teachers and advisers.
In real life it doesn’t happen that way, especially under Total grazing where the saliva is close to the crown and as we know, the closer the saliva is to the crown the better it’s effect. We also know that the hoof effect of high stock densities enhances the gas interchange in our soils which is necessary for even higher forage production as air that we breathe is almost 80% nitrogen, we also know that having fat roots and crown energy reserves is essential for fast regrowth after a Total grazing and in that experiment the monoculture of annual grass was young and not allowed to express itself.
Initially, the take half leave half pastures look better as there is some green leaf left while the Total grazed plants are initiating regrowth, thanks to roots/crown reserves and have a flush of microorganism's activity and, thanks to the longer rest period will achieve much higher productivity and much better biodiversity. No wonder their conclusion was totally different than what is possible with Total grazing management.
This better leaf to stem ratio and the longer rest period allowed by Total grazing also creates plants that are not stressed and are not compelled to go to seed. This allows for photosynthesis efficiency much longer into the year than with selective grazing.
I call them happy plants and will talk about that in my next blog.