See factors that need to be taken into consideration for ensuring a grazing management program is effective.

Florida beef operations looking to save on costs are likely to consider grazing as “Feed costs typically account for the greatest percentage of total enterprise costs in a cow-calf operation,” according to a South Florida Beef-Forage Program article. The article goes on to share grazing management considerations that an operation should factor in before utilizing a grazing option. See the details below.

Considerations for Grazing Management

According to the article, these are factors an operator needs to consider to “achieve optimal forage utilization and animal performance” through grazing management.

  1. How close to graze? This decision will have the greatest impact on pasture and animal productivity. Leaving adequate leaf mass after grazing is crucial for regrowth. The recommended stubble height depends on the forage variety. Not all forages are the same…”
  2. Stocking Rate – Stocking rate is the most critical component in grazing management. Stocking rate is the number of animal units grazing a given area of land (e.g. – # of animals/acre). This rate is based off of grazable acres. Areas with excess brush or trees, surface water, and/or ranch roads should be excluded when calculating the amount of land suitable for grazing. Other factors to consider when determining stocking rate are forage production, nutritive value, species composition of pasture, and season. There’s a correlation between stocking rate and animal performance…”
  3. Grazing Method: Continuous or rotational grazing? Continuous grazingis a method where the cattle have unrestricted and uninterrupted access to a specific piece of land throughout the grazing season. Cattle have free access to selectively graze, and choose how often and how close to graze a plant. It does not allow for the pasture to rest and may not allow adequate residual leaf and carbohydrate reserves for pasture regrowth. However, this method requires less input costs and management decisions compared to rotational grazing. Rotational grazingis when cattle are rotated between two or more sections of the pasture, called paddocks. The producer manages the time period of grazing and pasture recovery. When grazed at the proper stocking rate and rotating at ideal stubble height, rotational grazing helps with pasture persistence…”

The article maintains that these three factors must be taken into consideration to effectively utilize grazing and that operators should track information to assess their grazing management program.

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.