It is grazing with intention and purpose. It may occur all year or it may occur just during a certain period or season of the year. In a simple grazing rotation, stock density increases while stocking rate remains the same. Thus, during each month of grazing, the one AU consumes 780 pounds of dry feed (30 days x 26 pounds per day), which equals one animal unit month (AUM). At higher stock densities, trample structural components to provide additional organic material to the soil surface or to disturb exposed soil surfaces, stimulating new plant recruitment and production, or vice versa. Ultimately, it’s important to maximize animal performance without damaging the forage resource base over time. The greater the stock density, the greater the impact upon a resource. In this example, there is an excess of approximately 142.5 AUMs that will go unused during the year (961.5 AUM supply – 819 AUM demand). This is where the concept of planned, managed grazing and the purpose of HSD grazing applies. Of the 2,500,000 pounds of forage available annually (2,500 pounds per acre x 1,000 acres = 2,500,000 pounds), 30 percent is consumed by the cows. Why use rotational grazing? Cows like to roam and graze so they need a lot of room on a farm. And the operation uses a simple rotation grazing system in order to have 30 percent harvest efficiency. Overgrazing will significantly reduce animal performance and can cause long-term damage to a forage base via reduced yield in future years. Rotational grazing allows for better manure distribution that acts as a source of nutrients to the soil. If the property was managed such that each of the 50-acre pastures were subdivided into 10-acre paddocks for grazing, stock density in each paddock would be five cows per acre (50 cows divided by 10-acre paddock), or 6,000 pounds per acre (1,200 pounds per cow multiplied by five cows). As one can imagine, the grazing duration for the cow herd becomes shorter as the pasture or paddock size becomes smaller. For additional information, review our Privacy Policy. The greater the degree of impact, the longer the recovery period required. We use Facebook Pixel and other cookies to optimize user experience. In drier areas you may need up to 100 paddocks. The net effect is more productivity per acre at less cost. The difference is the terminology. Unfortunately, the most accurate method of determining annual forage yield is via the very time-consuming and labor-intensive process of hand clipping and weighing forages from pastures. Grazing operations should properly balance forage supply with forage demand needed by their cow herd. Be an essential resource for the innovative beef cattle producer. Example: The herd will graze each paddock for 3 days when 1000 pounds of pasture are available. In reality, this calculation does not allow carrying capacity to be fine-tuned to a very specific number of animals. That means we should be able to have 10 to 13 cows. To determine the number of animal units you can graze on a piece of land us via this formula: Total Animal Units = (Pasture size [acres] x Stocking rate [AUM/acre]) / Length of grazing period (months) Therefore, as per our example, Total Animal Units = (100 acres x 1.0 AUM/acre) / 4 months = 25 Animal Units. Under these conditions, the 100 cows would graze down 1.3 acres in 12 hours or 2.6 acres in one day. Grazing managers can influence or control the season, frequency, duration and intensity of grazing. Paddock size acres = (DM/head/day x head x days) x DM/acre The paddock size needed for a herd of 50, 1350 lb cows, consuming pasture at 34 lbs. Thus, 750,000 / 780 = 961.5 AUMs. If you have 500 acres and 50 cows, the stocking rate is 50 cows, or one cow per 10 acres. 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