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Management-Intensive Grazing

Grazing System Design

Once the amount of forage that needs to be supplied to the animal is approximated, the method of rationing the forage (i.e., the grazing system) can be decided upon. The objective of this section is to:

  1. Present various grazing methods.
  2. Provide information about and resources for grazing system infrastructure (i.e., water, fencing, etc.).
  3. Guide the interested producer through the process of designing an appropriate grazing system.

Common Grazing Methods and Some Specific Farm Applications

MIG systems can be employed and managed in a multitude of methods. In fact, it is common to see several methods being used simultaneously or in conjunction with one another to meet the goals of the grazing system. Read more...


Grazing System Infrastructure

Grazing systems depend on and, in many cases, are limited by their infrastructure. Close attention to providing effective and durable fencing, watering systems, and methods for reducing heat stress (e.g., shade, cooling ponds, mist systems, etc.) is critical to the success of a grazing system. Read more...


Determining the Number of Paddocks

The determination of the number of paddocks needed is the crucial first step in establishing the efficiency and sustainability of the MIG system. Indeed, the determination of this number is what distinguishes "grass-farming" from other management philosophies. Read more...


Determining the Size of Each Paddock

Not all forage that is produced will make it into the animal.  All forage harvesting systems, including the most intensive MIG system or the most expensive mechanized harvest system, will have some amount of inefficiency or waste.  Read more...


The Overall Grazing Equation

Many of our most common forage species are just not quite high enough in quality to meet the nutritional demands of our most productive animal classes (e.g., lactating dairy cows, finisher cattle, replacement heifers, etc.). Read more...


Adapting the Grazing System Design

Unfortunately, the "real-world" conditions on any given farm are likely to present significant challenges to many of the assumptions made during the planning of the MIG system.  Read more...