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Use Stream Water Wisely to Save Money

Use Stream Water Wisely to Save Money

Strip grazing along streams can save high cost of water system and yet protect riparian area.

Consider the high cost of developing piped water for grazing management and well-planned grazing near streams is a real bargain.

We covered this topic in the November 2009 issue of Beef Producer but it bears repeating as only a few people have picked up the idea and a lot more need to.

Typically this arrangement uses long strips of pasture perpendicular to the stream as seen in the picture with this story. Typically these run some distance away from the water and most often are single-wire electric fence subdivisions of larger pastures.

The manager sets up temporary fences within these strips, with one temporary fence just out into the water of the stream so the cattle can drink. This fence could be just off the near bank, allowing the cattle only a little access to the water or just off the opposite bank, allowing them most of the stream for the time they are in the paddocks.

They first graze the subdivision or "break" closest to the stream. Then that fence is rolled up and the cattle move into the next break. When the forage is at the planned stage of graze and trample they move to the next break. It goes on like this until the reach the end.

To prevent excessive overgrazing it shouldn't take more than three to five days to finish a strip on one side of the stream.

After than the manager typically moves cattle to the other side of the stream and repeats the process.

Then it's time for one side of the next strip, and so it goes.

This method keeps stream banks broken down and smooth, yet the long rest periods between grazing periods allows ample vegetation to grow the length of such streams.

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