Farm Progress

Installing a nongrazing cage in pastures can help you track grazing rates and prevent overgrazing.

March 29, 2017

1 Min Read
CORRALING OUT: A grazing exclusion cage like this can help you “eyeball” grazing rates by welcomed and unwelcomed pasture munchers.Noble Foundation

No fertilization plan, rotational grazing plan or herd genetic selection can overcome overgrazing pastures at a continually high stocking rate — whether by cattle, sheep or deer. So consider raising grazing exclusion cages to help you “eyeball” grazed versus ungrazed vegetation, suggests Rob Cook, Noble Foundation’s grazing consultant.

Bending two 12-foot, welded wire cattle panels at 90-degree angles and anchoring them at the four corners in a square will do the job. For a smaller, simpler cage, bend one panel into a teardrop shape and anchor it with a T-post.

Cook prefers the larger size so forage production measurements can be collected three times during the growing season, then again after frost. A 6-by 6-foot cage should give enough room to sample and compare that forage growth.

Place your cages on sites representative of the entire pasture. Make sure they’re not in high-use areas or so far from water that grazing is limited. Also, move them to different locations each year.

Source: Noble Foundation

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