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Grasses and Grazing

Learn about pasture management, stocking rates and grass production from beef and dairy specialists and agronomists around the country.

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“If you’re paying for the ground year-round, you might as well try to use it year-round,” says Cliff Schuette, a grain and beef producer in western Illinois. This is the theory that thousands of farmers fail to put into practice.

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Forage is a vital resource for a livestock operation. It is a cheap source of feed for grazing animals and the best way to stay economically viable. The basis of any successful livestock grazing system is learning to manage the forage or pasture within environmental limitations, grower skills and knowledge.

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How short a pasture should be grazed or cut is one of the key factors in grazing and forage management, and one entirely under your control. How much forage can be grazed or cut affects the quality and quantity, and the persistence of the forage plant.

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Multi-species grazing is the practice of using two or more species of livestock together or separately on the same land in a specific growing season.

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Sheep producers should set annual goals for the forage and pasture grazing system. Under most farm circumstances a forage grazing plan will require several years to implement selected goals.

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Recent increases in production input prices, coupled with lower output prices, have adversely affected the profitability of beef cattle operations.

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