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60 Ways Farmers Can Protect  Surface Water
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10. Protect the Soil With Rotational Grazing

Forage Growth Curve Rotational grazing is a process of planned grazing that encourages pasture growth, provides maximum benefits to the animals, and prevents overgrazing.

The pasture is grazed while it is leafy and nutritious, still in the vegetative stage, and before the forage matures. By preventing overgrazing, a rotational grazed pasture provides better cover to reduce erosion.

Cows in a field Rotational grazing makes use of a large number of paddocks. Animals rotate from paddock to paddock, so each acre of land undergoes a short grazing period, followed by a longer rest period. Most legume-grass combinations in the Midwest work well with rest-to-graze periods similar to alfalfa-orchardgrass—30 days of rest and three days of grazing.
Cows in a field Deciding on the number and size of paddocks to be grazed are key factors in creating a grazing plan. Paddock layout will vary from farm to farm because of topography, available water, animal traffic, and individual management concerns.
160 acre tract Plan the paddock layout to reduce lane use and cowpath erosion. Determine paddock size and livestock numbers per paddock by trial and error for each set of pastures. In the Midwest, experience has suggested that on productive soils with good legume-grass mixtures, rotationally grazed pastures can support about 2,000 pounds of live animal weight per acre.

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