Feed Lot

AUG 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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18 FEED•LOT  August 2017 STOCKER SPECIAL Rotational grazing makes better use of pastures than season-long grazing, and allows plants time to recover and produce more forage. Marginal pastures are improved in yield and stocking rate by consci- entious rotation. However, there is no "set in stone" time per pasture or size of grazing cell. Decisions should be made based on the land, soil health, rainfall and other envi- ronmental factors, as well as the type of cattle and marketing plans. Dividing a pasture into many seg- ments allows for more time for re- growth/recovery. The ultimate form of rotational grazing is mob grazing, making cat- tle graze in small areas and moving them daily or several times a day. This adds a lot of manure and or- ganic matter (litter from trampling the uneaten portions of the plants), and facilitates greater forage pro- duction. With mob grazing, as many as 500 head on a single acre for a few hours at a time. No matter what type of grazing system you choose, temporary elec- tric fencing makes rotation easy. Many people create permanent paddocks using traditional fencing or electric hard wire, then divide those paddocks with portable hot wire that can be moved as often as needed to strip graze or mob graze. Portable fencing is handy for strip grazing in winter—for stockpiled pastures, windrows or bale grazing. Portable fence is also useful on rent- ed pastures where a person can't afford to invest in permanent fences. Some producers use semi-per- manent fence for paddocks that may be only 500 feet wide by 1 or 2 miles long, and put short, tempo- rary fence across those long strips. Chad Peterson in north central Ne- braska has 5000 acres and pastures all of it with 1000 cattle. He uses hill ground during winter when grass is dormant, letting it recover through the growing season. He mob grazes all the meadows, divid- ing them into long narrow strips, and further divides them with tem- porary electric fence into paddocks less than an acre in size. He moves the cattle 5 or more times each day and only grazes each small piece once during the growing season, then gives it a year to recover. With portable fencing, you can let cattle eat a segment of the pas- ture, then move them to the next piece and move the fence along with them, says Ken Turner, who works for Parker McCrory, a man- ufacturer of temporary fencing ma- terials. "We have steel pigtail post as well as plastic poly posts, fiber- glass and rod posts. Each kind has an advantage, so it's the customer's Portable Fencing for Rotational Grazing By HEATHER SMITH THOMAS The solar energizer used for this semi-permanent fencing will store enough energy to operate the electric fence for up to 21 days in total darkness. Solar chargers offer more flexibility for fencing decisions. Photo courtesy of Parker McCrory Mfg. Co. R

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