There is a big difference between selective grazing where the animal is allowed to graze the species and parts of species that it prefers and Total grazing where the animal is not allowed that luxury and has to consume most everything on offer.
To have the cattle thrive under this management the grazing periods need to be short, so the rumen has a constant quality of feed coming into this wonderful batch system that is the rumen. Around every two hours is the optimum but this will depend on quality of forage on offer.
This takes some experience to do successfully so the cattle are getting enough breaks and area to do well (full gut at the end of the day, good looking manure, pre grazing and post grazing pasture mass).
The benefits to the environment are:
We have been a bit busy finalizing the Total Grazing course... but we are back on track on the blog posts!
Wanted to share with you the importance of protein supplementation on stockpiled forage.
Bacteria in the rumen have a minimum protein requirement to be able to digest fiber efficiently.
The normal minimum is around 8 % for these bacteria to be able to be efficient. The consequences of not meeting this minimum will vary depending on the environment and the amount of fiber in the forage.
Under low content of lignin in the forage the cow will be able to overeat up to 40 % above her dry matter requirements to be able to make up for the deficiency thus decreasing the amount of cattle carried on a given area of ground.
This is very important under conditions of forage shortages or when land is expensive and we want to optimize number of cows per ranch
Number of cows per ranch is the most important factor determining profits per ranch, it is far more...
Cool season grasses and legumes are VERY different in composition than warm season perennials.
When lush and growing fast they are very high in protein, low in fiber and their energy is in the form of sugars which causes acidosis and it’s the reason that the drying manure forms a white crust when this is not addressed.
The reason is that sugar is very high in oxygen or soluble carbohydrates on a dry matter basis, and if we consider the acidosis plus the excess ammonia produced in the rumen we can see why more health problems develop.
When such forages are digested the microorganisms in the rumen digest the carbohydrate portion of the excess amino acids belching, so to speak, the ammonia which being a gas goes through the rumen walls and enter the blood stream causing high pH.
This excess ammonia gas is also the main cause of frothy bloat.
While the rumen is having to cope with the lactic acid produced by the digestion of the high sugar content in these forages the blood and...
When we graze tall all the time there is shade and if done all the time this shade to the growing points leads to some of them dying, when this happens we start to get wider inter plant spacings which is undesirable.
We can get very large plants with wider plant spacings but we want high production of leaves per square yard not high production per plant.
This is the same as beef production per acre not beef production per animal or the same as high corn production per acre not high corn production per plant.
If we take off 10-20 % and trample the rest (if forages are low fiber due to environment and the don't spring back up) it means that we need to come back 5 to 9 times faster which also means that the most desirable species will be re grazed before they recover completely. If, on the other hand, we don't increase stocking rate so we can afford to selectively graze only 10-20 % of the grass on offer we are missing on possible profits that a higher stocking rate would...