Cattle Cell Grazing
Managing our three dairy cow herd is done with a cell grazing technique that is starting to show a distinct improvement in the pastures. The image below is the result of the three cows and their calves after five days of grazing. Up till now they would have only had three days access to this cell. The next time that they will come in to this paddock I intend to reduce the size of the cells to bring it back to three days access again. They will only return in 50 days time, giving 50 days of rest.
This management has been in place for two years and the result is impressive. The pasture has improved well and is becoming more diverse. Legumes are becoming more abundant and runner grasses are getting established. We lockup the cows overnight to collect the manure to add to the biodigester.. Previously we would collect around 35-40kg of manure per day. At the moment we are getting nearer to 60kg. So the cows are eating more per day but are taking longer to eat out the cell.
Its really gratifying to get these results. Set stocking management needs less input but the pastures go backwards and the soil becomes depleted and vulnerable to erosion and loss. With these thickened and developed pastures the soil is improved and protected. AND can carry more stock. Happy chappie and more steaks in the freezer!
©2016 Tom Kendall; permeco.org, incorporating Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast, simplicity, permaculture, self reliance and homesteading, cell grazing.