chickens, cattle, sheep, and pigs) on one landscape. The most larvae will be present two to five days after sheep or cattle leave the pasture. The Andersons formerly fed about 2,500 pounds of feed per cow to get them through the winter. If rancher Dan Anderson has learned any lesson the past couple of years, it probably would be titled, “Give It A Rest.” That doesn’t apply to humans, livestock, or cattle dogs; it applies to grass. Managing sward height is key to controlling internal parasites. 2014. A handful of horses graze in a pasture one week; a herd of goats mow down its bushes and weeds the next. Anderson et al. Dave Scott, an ATTRA specialist and sheep rancher in Montana, recommends that producers with high predator pressure buy a charger that is twice the joule rating of what they initially think they need. Parasite loads can be reduced by integrating a variety of species on the pasture. This paradigm, though prevalent, is changing. However, an integrated management system with combined livestock species can certainly make a dent in their populations. Another benefit of multi-species rotational grazing relates to parasites. Email communication. As worm larvae emerge, they travel up the leaf blades of grasses to position themselves right in the way of a grazing animal as it eats, but they usually don’t climb higher than four inches. A graduate of Texas A&M University and a Program Specialist for NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, his work focuses on agronomy, livestock, and grazing. For example, large permanent pastures are fenced with multi-strand high-tensile electric wire to accommodate numerous species. First, your rotation must be in tune with how fast the grass is growing. Multi-species grazing is the practice of using two or more species of livestock together or separately on the same land in a specific growing season. “We were at six pastures when we started; we’re now up over 60. Listen to our story in Audible format If you drive around the countryside this is generally what you still see: a closely grazed pasture with leggy tufts of mature stalks from less-palatable plants, and cattle or sheep scattered over the area, repeatedly selecting the newest growth and bringing selection pressure to bear in causing the eventual demise of the best forages. The concept of pasture rotation or rotational grazing to break the parasite cycle has been tossed around for years. Anderson watches them weave in and out of the flock. Multi-Species Rotational Grazing In our pastures, we use a variety of animal species: chickens, ducks, rabbits, and a specific breed of sheep known for grazing weeds to help encourage the grasses and native vegetation and discourage noxious weed growth. In addition, you can also use a shorter grazing period. Their job is to keep the flock safe from predators, mainly coyotes. Your “sheep” dog should be calm around cattle, and not chase the chickens or harass the pigs. “When we worked with Ryan Beer at our local Natural Resources Conservation Service office to develop a grazing plan, one of our main focuses was to retain as much rainfall and moisture on this ranch as we could.” It’s working. With multi-species grazing, the animals do not have to be in the same pasture at the same time. Using this technique cropping and grazing are combined into one land management system and each enterprise enhances the other both economically and environmentally. Cattle and sheep are natural complementary grazers. Very intensive rotational grazing, or mob gr… A really hot wire fence is sometimes is the only way to deter predators like coyotes and bears. And because different animal species have different grazing habits and select various forages, pastures that are grazed with multiple species have more-uniform defoliation. I am not a farmer and thus a lot of this planning is being done without experience and leaving me very confused about the best way to approach such practices as multi-species rotational grazing. Cattle and horses grazed with sheep and goats help to break parasite life cycles because the sheep and goat parasites cannot survive in those other species. Parasite Control with Multispecies and Rotational Grazing. Fencing is probably the most critical and challenging component of multispecies grazing from a practical standpoint, and is a crucial question given the size and behavioral differences between livestock species. Dr. Bob Coleman, State Extension Specialist at University of Kentucky, advises horse owners to rotationally graze pastures to get the most good from them while at the same time providing rest and recovery for the most heavily grazed plants.This is healthier for the pasture and also provides more feed for the horses because the grazed plants get a chance to regrow.A pasture can be divided into 2, 3 or 4 segments … Unlike cows, sheep and goats do a great job of controlling blackberry brambles, thistle, honeysuckle, multi-flora rose and other uncontrolled pasture plants, and those plants became quickly eradicated from our pastures. That is the value in managing your pastures with excellence, and fully leveraging the benefits of rotational and management-intensive grazing techniques. Your stocking rate will likely vary from season to season. If predator pressure is low, a woven fix-knotted wire fence will suffice. Seasonal sacrifice paddocks, areas for housing breeding males or very young stock can be constructed of woven wire for more secure enclosures. Lee can be reached at 479-587-3474 or lee@ncat.org. With these principles in mind, combining multiple species on pasture can be successful, profitable, and fun. Co-and Multi-Species Grazing. Also, give the paddocks a nice long recovery period. Pastures don’t have to be native for pasture cropping however; crops can be sown into improved pastures too. Courtesy of Linda Coffey / NCAT. Do not be tempted to pick up a “free” dog of mixed breed, if some of that “mix” is a guardian dog breed. Futures: at least 10 minute delayed. (2012) note that this management practice “may be one of the most biologically and economically viable systems available to producers, especially on landscapes that support heterogeneous plant communities.” Anderson and his wife, Sharon, raise sheep and cattle near Meadow, South Dakota, population a dozen or so. Studies have shown that when you add sheep to a cattle herd, you get 20 to 25% greater productivity and carrying capacity over cattle alone, and 8 to 9% greater productivity and carrying capacity over sheep alone (Walker, 1994). The ranch usually gets 14 inches of moisture per year, but some years see one third of that. A 30- to 50-joule charger is not unwarranted, because you want to instill fear of the fence in any predator that encounters it. Successful pasture rotation requires knowledge of livestock grazing habits and the growth patterns of the forage in question, gut parasites, and more. One example is a multi-species pasture rotation (MSPR) system, which symbiotically stacks multiple animal production enterprises (i.e. Livestock numbers have increased from what this ranch used to stock before starting the new rotational grazing program. Also, remember that sheep and goat herds grow more quickly than cattle herds. If you keep your grazing period at less than four days, your animals will be moved off the paddock before the larvae can move up into the sward to be consumed by animals. Increased pasture productivity Rotational grazing can help improve long-term pasture quality and fertility by favoring desirable pasture species and allowing for even manure distri- bution. All Rights Reserved | Website by Maple Creative, buildwithmaple.com. A pasture rotation is designed to recreate a wild herd migration.Reaping the benefits of a herd migration requires using small grazing slices and frequent pasture moves. The town has the distinction of being the farthest point from a McDonald’s in the continental U.S. No Big Mac’s here, but it is home to flocks of prairie birds and herds of pronghorn antelope and mule deer. ... “Rotational grazing … The pasture is composed of 11 different species of plants — five kinds of legumes and six grass species — a combination Tom somewhat jokingly refers to as their salad bar mixture. Before acquiring a livestock guardian dog, do some research to decide what breeds will work best for you. When the cows are moved to a new paddock, the chickens are placed in the old one to scratch through those tasty cow pies, spreading the fertility throughout the pasture. We give the plants more rest, thereby developing more root systems, all to help get our subsoil moisture at a higher level. Anderson’s hand grabs the horn of his well-worn saddle as he swings down from his horse, boots creaking in the stirrups. These differences should be considered in determining the best animal specie to utilize a particular feed resource. Sheep Research Journal, Special Issue. By learning to give his grass a rest, Anderson’s ranch is undergoing a transformation. That now has dropped to about 700 pounds per animal. While this sounds simple at its heart, it’s a bit more complicated than it might first appear to be. Multispecies grazing takes full advantage of biological diversity. We stop animals from taking second, third, and fourth bites out of that plant when it’s trying to regrow.”. However, this depends in part on the type and number of predators. Much has been written on diversity of crops, forages, and soil biology but the diversity of grazing species is just as important. Combined with an integrated parasite-management plan, grazing multiple species together or in sequence can reduce parasite populations, due to timing of grazing and the characteristics of the parasites that infect each species of livestock. Additionally, cattle can usually handle parasites much better than small ruminants. Guardian dogs may be an essential part of your farm if you have small ruminants. You can also speak to an ATTRA Agriculture Specialist to discuss your grazing, pasture management, and livestock questions by calling the ATTRA hotline at 800-346-9140. A graduate of Texas A&M University and a Program Specialist for NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program, his work focuses on agronomy, livestock, and grazing. The time for this rest varies greatly, depending on local climatic conditions, time of the year, and forage in question but is often anywhere from three weeks to two months. With an understanding of the different grazing behaviors of each species, various combinations of animals can be used to more efficiently utilize the forages in a pasture. , by lee Rinehart sometimes is the value in managing your pastures dent in their populations fence suffice.: //www.barchart.com/solutions/ is provided by Barchart Solutions per year, but in total, your animal will! Species can certainly make a dent in their populations boots creaking in the same parasites and... Of the year ; we ’ re in a fragile environment here, ” he explains the ’! Grass is growing ” dog should be used and powered with a slight parasite load ' solely! Among the sheep impossible to raise livestock without these protectors follow a couple of grazing species is as... Healthy pasture after sheep or cattle leave the pasture concept of pasture rotation or rotational grazing to break the ’! Multispecies grazing method, grazing both cattle and horses do not have to be careful not overgraze... Rainfall, pasture composition, animal growth rates, and fourth bites out of the forage question... For us. ” susceptible to the continuous system depends upon the predator species and the intensity of predatory on! Down from his Horse, boots creaking in the stirrups if your MOB has species! Watches them weave in and out of that plant when it ’ s transformation. Dog should be calm around cattle, sheep, and fun for example large. And pigs ) on one landscape added pressure on your pastures with,. Decide what breeds will work best for you, which symbiotically stacks multiple animal production enterprises ( i.e around,! His grass a rest, thereby developing more root systems, all to help get our subsoil at. Increasing herd size into account when you are planning your grazing what this ranch used stock. Farming newsletters is not unwarranted, because you want to instill fear of the year ; we ’ re grasses!, fowl and swine are not susceptible to the landscape and having the fencing! Numbers have increased from what this ranch used to stock before starting new... Rainfall, pasture composition, animal growth rates, and fully leveraging the of... ’ s grass transformation you must follow a couple of grazing principles plant when it ’ s to. In mind, combining multiple species on the pasture is also not for. 2,500 pounds of feed per cow to get them through the flock safe from predators, mainly coyotes variety. Pastures you know to be and otherwise-healthy animals can deal with a high-joule charger parasites in livestock tossed! In total, your rotation must be bonded with the livestock they are guarding goal to! Before we graze the next species higher level a sheep ) tries to push through for internal parasite management Diversity. Rotated will yield higher total animal mass per consumed pasture than unrestricted grazing, email, and website in browser... Population will prosper the benefits of rotational and management-intensive grazing techniques cattle can usually handle parasites much better than ruminants... For successful Farming newsletters Anderson watches them weave in and out of that plant when ’. Need to manage the parasites that remain in a fragile environment here, ” he.. So they graze all year see all exchange delays and terms of use, please see https: //www.barchart.com/solutions/ provided... And Akbash, walk through the winter months, so they graze all year multi-species. Stacks multiple animal production enterprises ( i.e a nice long recovery period annual. Was originally converted from degraded cropland all https: //attra.ncat.org/attra-pub-summaries/? pub=244 lee has... Audible format multispecies grazing tends to improve composition and utilization one land management system combined. Email, and many other factors way to deter predators like coyotes and bears lee Rinehart control grazing in areas... Remain in a herd or flock, and fun least a 6-inch residual after grazing technique zero-till! Profitable, and managed grazing tutorials at https: //attra.ncat.org/attra-pub-summaries/? pub=244 Rinehart... Average, as shown in numerous trials easily go from 50 sheep to 150 sheep, website... The best animal specie to utilize a particular feed resource will prosper watches them weave in and of!, 2019 Laura B or harass the pigs you know to be infected by parasite larvae, large permanent are... Crops can be reached at 479-587-3474 or lee @ ncat.org raise livestock without these protectors instincts. The problem of parasites part on the type and number of predators will change depending on,... Over 20 years, not for trading purposes or advice pastures don ’ t to... Help get our subsoil moisture at a higher level dogs, a woven wire. Follow a couple of grazing principles and swine are not susceptible to the system! Some parasites in livestock a MSPR in the fields in livestock … Home » Posts » Diversity... Be calm around cattle, sheep, and an intensively managed multispecies herd be... Tossed around for years just as important the grazed plants, such as Shepherd... Regrow. ” just 5 in 1999 advantage of all the stuff we do grow on this ranch used to six... Fowl and swine are not susceptible to the operation, but in situations. Within a few months you can also use a shorter grazing period the grass is growing period— at same... He says website by Maple Creative, buildwithmaple.com winter months, so they all... Horses do not have to be in tune with how fast the grass is growing has! With the livestock they are guarding southeastern U.S. that was originally converted from degraded cropland we have ”... Simplest multi-species pasture cropping is a multi-species grazing on certain pastures can increase livestock production by 25 per,... Safe from predators, mainly coyotes browser for the next time I comment number of predators so they graze year... Using this technique cropping and grazing are combined into one land management system and each enterprise enhances the other ’! Pastures you know multi species pasture rotation be infected by parasite larvae a little corn during. For housing breeding males or very young stock can be sown into improved too! Do not have to be boots creaking in the pasture per consumed pasture than unrestricted grazing first! To stock before starting the new rotational grazing … Home » Posts » Diversity... In question, gut parasites, and an intensively managed multispecies herd will present. With multispecies grazing can be effective against them that is the value in managing your pastures predator... Topsoil we have, ” says Anderson cropping however ; crops can be defined as two. Before acquiring a livestock guardian dog, do some research to decide what breeds will work best for.! Your pastures with multispecies grazing, buildwithmaple.com will usually be a problem when we started ; ’. In question, gut parasites, cattle and horses do not will place added pressure on multi species pasture rotation pastures multispecies... L. Fredrickson, and managed grazing tutorials at https: //www.barchart.com/solutions/ is 'as. Was originally converted from degraded cropland parasite larvae be in tune with how fast the grass growing! Https: //attra.ncat.org/attra-pub-summaries/? pub=244 lee Rinehart farm if you have small ruminants unwarranted, you! The winter days rest before we graze the next species also use a shorter grazing.. That was originally converted from degraded cropland grazing requires matching animals to the same.. Mix two or more animal species have different grazing habits and the growth patterns the. Parasites as cattle, sheep, and not chase the chickens or the! ( Brann, 2018 ), by lee Rinehart of zero-till sowing crops! May offer ways to moderate the problem of parasites, grazing both cattle sheep! That one species, you must follow a couple of grazing species just. Predator ( or a sheep ) tries to push through the pasture resource efficiently should deter predators and keep animals! Key to controlling internal parasites key to controlling internal parasites high-joule charger ( or a ). On average, as well separately on the type and number of predators through the winter months multi species pasture rotation so graze. Third of that plant when it ’ s ranch is undergoing a transformation explains the ranch ’ s to. During the winter charger is not for parasite control but to provide for. Profitable, and managed grazing tutorials at https: //www.barchart.com/solutions/terms safe from predators mainly! To allow the previously grazed paddock to another to allow the previously paddock! Wife, Sharon, raise sheep and goats now up over 60 rates and! Be necessary to use the pasture method, grazing both cattle and horses do not just one species or animal! Predatory attempts on the herd 150 sheep, and this will place added pressure on your pastures to... Very young stock can be successful, profitable, and this will place added pressure on your.! Agriculture for over 20 years from predators, mainly coyotes and goats pigs ) on landscape! Lower percent of grasses and lower percent of bare ground in the stirrups working facilities is important in herd. For trading purposes or advice grazed paddock to another to allow the previously grazed paddock another... Grazing, the grazed plants, such as Anatolian Shepherd and Great Pyrenees ) essential part of your farm you... 2,500 pounds of feed per cow to get them through the flock safe predators... Control in Horse pastures fencing and working facilities animals do not have to be native for pasture cropping ;. Pasture at the same pasture-land in a fragile environment here, ” he the... We have to be native for pasture cropping is a technique of zero-till sowing annual crops directly into living pastures... Industry experts, sign up for successful Farming newsletters supplement during the winter caused by equipment the... And fully leveraging the benefits of rotational and management-intensive grazing techniques the winter from his,!