Creating a grazing management and increasing grazing sustainability, consisting of proper stocking rates, rotational grazing plans, and allowing adequate rest periods, can prepare producers for times of uncertainty, Nebraska beef systems extension educator, Jack Arterburn said.
For young producers or smaller producers with low numbers of grazing animals, creating a grazing management plan can be easy process which proves to assist in managing the operation as heard numbers grow, Arterburn said.
“Especially the smaller guys can benefit from an easy management plan, creating a plan early on is important and much easier than establishing a plan when your numbers are significantly higher,” Arterburn said.
Taking stocking rates into consideration is the most important aspect in managing pasture and grazing lands, Arterburn said.
Determining stocking rates, can provide producers with a specific number of animals which can be grazing on a given amount of land for a specific amount of time, preventing overgrazing of pasture land. In terms of grazing intensity, Arterburn said, he suggests producers to keep stocking numbers in the moderate range rather than having a high grazing intensity numbers, matching grazing numbers to the moderate is what Arterburn situation.
“People can use resources through extension that can help the find a good middle ground in terms of stocking rate,” Arterburn said, “We want to find a middle ground.”
Not only does successful stocking rates and grazing intensity allow producers to plan for future production, but grazing rotation is a crutial aspect to consider, Arterburn said.
“Grazing the same plants that have already been grazed, for longer than a month is doing damage,” Arterburn said.
When considering rotational grazing, Arterburn said, focusing on a rest period is what is vitally important when creating a management plan.
Having a number of pastures to incorporate into grazing rotation allows producers to give adequate rest periods for plants to recover, allowing enough growth for future grazing.
Arterburn said, having a plan to follow which has been developed during times of sound thinking can allow producers to continue successful grazing during difficult times of drought or a variety of uncertainties.
“When things get difficult, you start to make emotional decisions in the moment, and having a management plan to follow that was created in a sound mindset can be extremely beneficial,” Arterburn said.
Resources through Nebraska extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service can help producers establish effective and sustainable grazing plan, Arterburn said.
“I think everyone can benefit from a management plan,” Arterburn said.