Conservation at Work: Prescribed Grazing and Tools To Do So

Taylor HillmanUSDA-NRCS

Producers can help to maximize the efficiency of their grazing practices and help improve environmental conditions by adopting a prescribed grazing approach. California NRCS Area Rangeland Management Specialist, Madeline Milner explained to AgNet West that a prescribed grazing management plan takes a bit of planning and close monitoring, but the benefits can be well worth the effort. As pointed out in the ‘Prescribed Grazing’ episode of NRCS’s Conservation at Work video series, the practice can double the average utilization rate of forages up to roughly 75 percent.

As Kenny Sites of Sheridan, Arkansas noted, the use of prescribed grazing helped his operation increase stocking rates by 25 percent. Milner pointed out that the practice has a whole host of significant benefits. “When you improve the distribution of your cattle or other livestock over a property, you’ll see a decrease in the compaction of your soil. You can decrease erosion. You can improve the health of riparian areas by limiting cattle access to them and you can even improve the wildlife habitat potential of your property,” Milner explained.

NRCS can provide assistance in helping producers draft and implement a prescribed grazing plan, detailing the forage potential of grazing land and what the best course of action may be to maximize its potential.  Milner highlighted water availability as being an important component of a grazing plan, along with a fencing strategy, as described in the ‘Fence’ episode of the video series.

Listen to Milner’s full interview.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation at Work video series documents how producers and landowners are using individual practices to improve their land and save time and money. Each episode tackles one subject in a short and easy to understand format. Watch the episodes at Farmers.Gov and contact your local NRCS office for more information.

About the Author

Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West