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Beefs and Beliefs

Mob Grazing A Short-Term Practice

Grazing conference shows soil improvement foundation for good grazing.

Sorry I've been out of touch. I left my blog about Clem Ward's study of livestock pricing competition and the proposed new GIPSA rules up a long time because I hoped more people would see and read it. I think it's important stuff.

I just got home from the annual Nebraska Grazing Conference and it was excellent as usual - always one of the high points of my year.

Canadian grazer Neil Dennis was the headline speaker this time and his wry humor made him fun as well as really interesting

He's one of the leaders in ultra-high stock density grazing, sometimes packing his cattle into paddocks as high as one million pounds of stock per acre. I'm hoping to go see him in September and offer some features on his forage management next spring.

In the meantime, it struck me as I listened to Neil Dennis and talked to other graziers in Nebraska, that ultra-high stock density grazing (or mob grazing) may sound ridiculous to some folks because they think it just isn't practical to move cattle that often.

They're partially right.

Fact is, mob grazing at densities of 500,000 pounds per acre or more is nearly always a short-term treatment to improve the land and increase forage utilization.

Dennis has three different methods of doing it: very small paddocks and fast moves, bale grazing in the winter and a process he calls "deep massage," which is involves stockpiling forage, rolling out hay, and very high stock density strip-type grazing with no back fences.

Dennis and several other speakers really emphasized how much they are trying to improve soil conditions and soil life as the foundation of their grazing programs.

It reminded me of just how far we've come. When Beef Producer columnist Walt Davis first explained the concept of thinking of soil first to me 15 years or more ago, he said people just weren't ready to think that way yet. Today, I think more people are seeing the light.

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