Grazing the Mob
Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Greetings from the farm!
In the last year and a half we acquired a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle. Though the 'Oreo cows' are fun to look at, we have discovered they are excellent grazers, making use of a wide variety of grasses, forbes and legumes that grow in our pastures. They fit well with the rotational grazing practices we had already established with our sheep herd. And with our rotational grazing practices they build our soil health by depositing nutrient and organic matter as they go (think cow pies!).
We intensively rotationally graze our sheep and cattle on our various pastures for a couple of reasons. First we do not want to overgraze our grasses, leaving at least 4" of grass will allow better regrowth and healthier plants and soil. Secondly it improves our animal health as they constantly have access to fresh pasture and do not continually graze the same area where they have defecated, reducing potential parasite spread.
On pastures that allow it, I have discovered that mob grazing is an excellent management practice. With this our animals cattle are moved to fresh pasture daily. This mob grazing technique mimics how the bison would have grazed the prairies of the United States centuries ago. The grass is grazed intensely for a short period and then left to rest and grow for a long period thereafter until the next herd moves through. This natural cycle allows for healthier grasses which in turn leads to healthier soils and animals.