Total grazing and adapted genetics/selection guidelines


Hello, I am Jim Elizondo from Real Wealth Ranching

Today we will talk about Total grazing and adapted genetics/selection guidelines.

When we start to implement the process of total grazing in your land you may need, for better results, to use adapted genetics with correct selection guidelines. Then, what should we do? Only total grazing? Or at the same time implement adapted genetics with correct selection guidelines?

The good news is that this doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, I want you to consider how this two big subjects' impact or can impact your cattle business. You will come out of this podcast with a decision. Will you implement total grazing and use adapted genetics/correct selection guidelines? Will you only do total grazing? Or maybe a little of both?

I’m going to say up front: to achieve the best results in our ranches/farms it is important to increase our grass production using low-cost biological methods, increase our harvest efficiency to...

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#1: What is Total Grazing? The How, What and Why it Works


Hello, welcome to the first episode of the Fat Cows, Fat Wallet Podcast. I’m your host, Jim Elizondo.

When I’m out in the world and I’m speaking with other ranchers or farmers and they ask me what type of grazing I do, and I explain to them, the looks I get from them are very entertaining and show a lot of confusion.

Sometimes they just change the topic or they’ll say something like, “Oh that’s cool”. But all in all, I usually have to explain what I mean. And I thought, you know, I bet others of my Total Grazing students deal with the same thing. So why not start this podcast with an episode to help all of us to better explain what we do, because it goes beyond an isolated grazing event. It’s more advanced than that, it’s more detailed than that and it’s part of a bigger picture. So in today’s episode, I talk in detail about what exactly Total Grazing is and how it works within a ranching business. And...

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How to measure leaf to stem ratio

total grazing Aug 10, 2021

As we know, the leaf to stem ratio determines the level of available energy for growth in the plant and how much energy can be used to feed soil microorganisms by root exudates.  These soil microorganisms, in return, make nutrients in the soil available to the plants.  It is a virtuous cycle that depends on the leaf to stem ratio.

This is so due to the leaves producing energy through photosynthesis and the stems consuming energy by respiring.

We also know that leaf has higher digestibility, 60-70 percent while stems only have around 30-40 percent. This means your cattle will have better nutrition when they consume more leaf.

Now, how can we quantify how much leaf, by weight we have in relation to stems?

We need to remember that stems weight much more than leaves.

1.- Cut one square yard of grass flush with the soil

2.- Weight it on a scale

3.- Separate the green leaves from the stems and brown leaves

4.- Weight them each in their own separate bag

5.- Divide the weight of...

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How to overseed without herbicides

total grazing Jul 13, 2021

Many times, we can profit from overseeding higher producing annuals or perennials on our pastures in different times of the year.

While tilling the soil or using herbicides may give a better stand or an earlier and higher yield compared to no till drilling without herbicides or tilling, you can still benefit from this practice by timely severe grazing and or mowing.

No till drilling Sudan grass in cool season forages to get higher forage production in the summer slump is one example.  Another could be incorporating new herbs, like Chicory or plantain, into cool season forages for better drought resistance in milder environments.

Another could be no till drilling of tall grass prairie species into cool season forages.

In all these cases we need to consider two things:

1.- The allelopathic effect of the established pasture

2.- Good seed to soil contact

For the allelopathic effect we can play with the season to make sure the established pasture species are dormant or weakened...

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How to avoid overgrazing

total grazing Jul 06, 2021

Overgrazing happens when an individual plant is re grazed before it has fully recovered from the previous grazing. It's not the same as severe grazing where if adequate rest is given, promotes leaf production and a better leaf to stem ratio that allows the plant to be more productive.

Under Total grazing we strive to harvest as high a % as possible and in practice we usually achieve 80-90% harvest efficiency. This is very high as when machine cutting for hay harvest efficiency is usually lower.

Under Selective grazing cattle harvest, by definition, a lower quantity of forage than under Total Grazing, usually 30-50%.

Let’s think about the consequences of this.

Under Selective grazing, where they harvest only 30% of available forage means that only one third of the available cow/days is harvested by the cattle.

The cow/days harvested per acre determines, in a given area, how many days pass between grazing and the herd returning, which is the rest period.

Harvesting 90% of...

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How to graze warm season forages for maximum productivity AND health!

total grazing Jun 29, 2021

Today we will talk about C4 or warm season grasses.

Like: Bermuda grass, Bahia grass, Vasey grass, Guinea grass, Kikuyu, Pangola, etc.

C4 grasses, in general, are lower in protein and energy than cool season or C3 forages, plus they are higher in fiber.

To get better animal performance in your animals; daily gain or milk production you need to graze these species in a younger stage as when they mature their protein and energy diminish while their fiber increases.

The advantage these C4 grasses have over C3 forages is their much higher production per year and their higher water conversion rate into tons of forage dry matter per acre, besides being the perfect complement to C3 forages when they are together in the same pasture.

As will be seen in the Total grazing online course, the best way to manage them is with Total grazing, but at a younger stage.

It is important that the grazing be Total so a shift to undesirable species does not occur, under selective grazing your animals will...

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How to graze cool season forages for maximum productivity AND health!

total grazing Jun 22, 2021

Today I am going to talk about C3 or cool season forages.

Conventional nutritionists, in general, balance rations on net maintenance energy, net gain energy and net lactation energy, this does not help much when we need to make the best decision to determine the stage of maturity of our forage to graze it, and most importantly how to graze it, as selective grazing can cause health problems. For example, they tell us that a young C3 grass is higher in energy and protein with low fiber content which leads to higher daily intake, but they cut machine cut it and use it on a total mixed ration in a corral! If we take these recommendations and graze our cool season or C3 forages: alfalfa, ryegrass, clovers, orchard grass when very young we will have health problems in our livestock: bloat, diarrhea, nitrates, caused by excess protein in relation to available energy and a very low fiber content. This can also happen in very young C4 grasses.

We need to know that a protein excess in the...

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What determines our stocking rate?

 We know that the main determinant of profitability for a ranch is the number of productive animals we can carry at a low cost per year.

And we know that the main constraint to a very high stocking rate is the Winter or dry season. The number of animals we can maintain in good body condition at a low cost in the Winter or dry season determines our stocking rate. Normally, in our green season we have forage excess!

By doing Total Grazing with adapted genetics, we can, and should have our cow's fat in the green season and in good condition in the Winter/dry season. The way to achieve this is to only graze the section or paddocks that our cows can keep up with in the green growing season and stockpiling the rest. Then we keep grazing the green season area until growth stops, and we finish off this area. Then we go to the stockpiled area and do Total grazing there!

By adapted genetics I mean cattle that have the resistance and adaptation to:

  • High heat index
  • Parasites and disease
  • ...
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5 Quick Tips on Building Fences

total grazing May 04, 2021

Last week and this week I have been building fences... in the hot sun of Florida.

But I have done this gladly because fencing is so important to achieve Total Grazing in a ranch.

Fencing allows us to have the "predator effect" which is key to improve our land the fastest.

Today I am sharing with you 5 simple but very important tips you can use when building fences:

1. Whenever you start try to first design where your roads will go, and the roads will double as water alleys to your water points.

2. Go to through highest ridges, your cows and vehicles will spend less energy travelling around the ranch on the highest ridges.

3. Try to avoid steep slopes because that will create erosion on the road or water alley

4. Build a perimeter road so that you can travel around your ranch and put out fires and to check perimeter fences, that’s very important!


5. Then you go perpendicular to your water alleys or road and build a grid of permanent one-wire fences which will be no...

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