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Management-Intensive Grazing: Grazing System Design

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.  This is quickly realized when an aerial map of the farm is printed and one begins the process of subdividing large, irregularly-shaped pastures (Figure 1). 

Aerial Photo or grazing plan
Figure 1. An example of a grazing plan that has been adapted to "real-world" conditions. Graphic Credit: Dr. Dennis Chessman, State Grazinglands Specialist, USDA-NRCS.
There are several services and cost-share programs that are available to producers who are planning to improve their grazing management by implementing a MIG system.  The USDA-National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has field staff and technical advisors throughout Georgia who can help you print off an aerial map of your farm and help you develop a grazing plan that is tailor-made to your operation. Furthermore, cost-share programs such as EQIP and other federal or state initiatives often provide matching funds for forage-based livestock producers who start or transition to a MIG system.

Of course, your local County Extension Agent can also help you decide on the forage species, varieties, and management practices to put in place that will match well with the grazing method that you plan.  They can provide you with research-based information on how best to adapt and supplement the productivity and quality of your forages to meet your livestock enterprise's need.  Finally, they can also put you in touch with Forage Agronomists, Animal Scientists, Engineers, and other specialists who can help you adapt your system to the constraints on your farm.