Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Should You Back Fence?

I am going to assume you know the term "back fencing". I have been observing and thinking, lately, that there are two things that I have learned in my mob grazing/MiG hybrid system. I must add that I do favor the mob grazing style as it produces much more dramatic results in a quicker amount of time.

The two things that I have learned relate to one concept, that is the idea of back fencing. The first is elementary, back fencing keeps the animals from wandering back to a favorite spot and grazing it into nothingness. The idea is to allow the grass to regrow without hindrance, to promote fresh green stuff the next time through.

The other thing is that with the back fence in place, and the forward fence in place, I can control not just how much the cattle eat, but what kind they eat. This is one of the bonuses to the mob system. In other words, I am forcing them to eat the things they would otherwise pick around. This is not bad, just good management. If you have observed ruminants very long you will notice that they have their favorite spots. These spots are over grazed if they are allowed to. You end up with "patches" of ungrazed grass that, eventually, grow out of control. I have noticed that in this system, the cattle will eat Sericea Lespedeza readily. If it is let go and gets tall and "woody", then there is a challenge to get them to eat it. It can be done, I have seen them eat the tall stuff too, when they are hungry.

The point, here, is that you control more than just the size of the paddock. The goal is to control what they eat, as well as how much.

Happy grazing.

1 comment:

Adkins Family farm said...

I agree 100%. The cattle always graze their favorite spots to death. If you confine them to a small area they will eat everything and the other areas have time to grow back unharmed or ungrazed. This type of grazing is the best in my mind