Rotational, or managed grazing is a type of sustainable farming that benefits the environment, our herd’s health, wildlife, and even our families!
Managed grazing is a system of raising and feeding livestock on pasture in which the livestock are moved on a regular basis – typically daily – to new pasture. This gives the livestock access to high quality feed, prevents waste, and allows for good nutrient distribution. It also gives the plants in the paddocks a chance to rest and re-grow. Because the land is in sod – grasses and legumes such as clover and alfalfa – the topsoil (and nutrients) stays in place, leaving little chance for runoff or erosion.
Grazing benefits the environment
Properly managed pastures have more diverse plant life and the soil teems with micro-organisms turning animal and plant waste into soil rich in organic matter. Rainfall is better absorbed so aquifers are cleaned and recharged.
There is now some evidence that perennial pastures can sequester even more carbon than woodlands, whereas tilled crops such as corn and soybeans both require more fuel to plant and harvest, but also release greenhouse gasses after harvest as the leaves and stalks decay.
Since the livestock harvest their own feed and spread their own manure during the growing season, less fuel and machinery is used. This enhances the environment for wildlife, especially in Spring when ground-nesting birds and other babies are hidden in the grass!
Livestock benefit as well!
Livestock health is good, and vet costs are low because the cattle have less stress that can come from overcrowding in confinement operations. Since they are regularly moved to fresh paddocks, there is less exposure to flies and manure. Yes, this takes more planning and careful observation on the part of the farmer, but we think it’s well worth the effort! Cattle who have access to diverse plant life can choose what they need for a balanced diet and best of all they are outside getting plenty of exercise, sunshine and fresh air!
Supporting grazing farms by purchasing grass-fed beef gives us all a greener countryside!