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AgriLife research: Multi-paddock grazing is superior to continuous grazing
Date:6/15/2011

>Multi-paddock grazing was managed using light to moderate defoliation during the growing season followed by adequate time to recover, Teague said.

With multi-paddock grazing and ungrazed areas, the vegetation was dominated by taller more productive grasses. With heavy continuous grazing, it was dominated by less productive short grasses and forbs, he said. Light continuous grazing had a lower proportion of tall grass species than multi-paddock grazing or ungrazed areas.

Teague said there was more bare ground on heavy continuous than light continuous, multi-paddock and ungrazed areas, while soil aggregate stability was higher with multi-paddock than heavy continuous grazing, but not light continuous grazing and ungrazed areas.

Soil compaction was lowest with multi-paddock grazing and ungrazed areas and highest with heavy continuous grazing, he said.

Water infiltration rate did not differ between grazing management categories, but soil erosion was higher with heavy continuous grazing as compared to other grazing management categories, Teague said. Soil organic matter, water holding and fertility were higher with multi-paddock grazing and ungrazed areas than both light continuous and heavy continuous grazing.

The fungal/bacterial ratio was highest with multi-paddock grazing as a result of the greater amounts of tall grass species, he said, indicating superior water-holding capacity and nutrient availability and retention for multi-paddock grazing.

"This study documents the positive results for long-term maintenance of resources and economic viability by ranchers who use adaptive management and multi-paddock grazing relative to those who practice continuous season-long stocking," he said.

The general management on the ranches using multiple paddocks per herd was to graze a pasture lightly to moderately for one or three days, followed by a recovery period of approximately 30-50 days and 60-90 days durin
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Contact: Dr. Richard Teague
r-teague@tamu.edu
940-552-9941
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Source:Eurekalert

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