What is a Managed Grazing System or Rotational Grazing?
Dividing a pasture into smaller cells and rotating the use of each cell is referred to as Rotational Grazing. It is important to note, even small size pastures can be divided into smaller cells for effectively managed grazing system.
Using the managed grazing system or rotational grazing, the equine is allowed to access one cell section at a time, until the forage has been grazed down to 3 to 4 inches.
The cell is then allowed some time to restore and rest until the forage is 6 to 8 inches in growth, and the equine is moved to the other cell for grazing till then.
Rotational grazing helps in preventing overgrazing and promotes healthy growth of fodder plants. Also, allowing the equine to only graze in smaller areas prevents selective grazing, resulting in maximum utilization of the available forage.
Why Utilize Rotational Grazing?
Horses; when allowed to graze on a pasture on a regular basis, they can quickly chomp down the quality forage, leaving behind only weeds and almost bare ground with negligible fodder.
Equine are known to graze from their teeth, unlike other animals as they graze with the help of their tongues.
Horses are known over-grazers, given their love for selective grazing—enjoying their favourite part of the pasture, while neglecting the rest. It is important to understand when a plant is grazed on, it needs sufficient time for regrowth of new leaves and regenerate strength in its roots.
If this aspect is neglected, the plant grows weaker and the forage plants will ultimately die due to continuous grazing. Rotational grazing helps in breaking this cycle of overgrazing and help restore the forage.
Alternative Managed Grazing System
Even pastures need rest and restore period. A healthy pasture equals healthy and nutritious forage for your Equine. Owing to their selective grazing tendencies, it is crucial for an equestrian to introduce their equine to alternative managed grazing.
To simplify, during the pasture restore period you can switch to forage available on equestrian shops online. Online equestrian shops not only provide food for your beloved pet-friend but also provide various health supplements for their long life.
Advantages of Rotational Grazing
Rotational grazing might seem like a very simple concept, however, this simplicity has great benefits for the entire ecosystem. If you have not switched to rotational grazing for your pet friend yet, you will genuinely be surprised by what it has to offer in the long run.
Here is a list of 10 amazing advantages of managed grazing system or rotational grazing—
1. A visible increase in forage production per acre, without the help of any additional means for productivity. Almost 200 to 300 percent increase of the forage production is expected with rotational grazing, depending upon the weather and other natural conditions.
2. A visible decrease in animal parasites and diseases caused by them, due to less exposure to their own feces that is home to parasites. Rotational grazing helps in less or almost no contact of the equine with their own feces and by the time they return to the old divided cell, their feces and the parasites have already decomposed.
3. Rotational grazing helps in increasing the nutrition for your equine. With rotational grazing, the horses have access to a wider variety of plants. Also, as they graze on a particular section, the other sections can be allowed time of rest and restore to reach their maximum nutritious value.
4. During the dry season, rotational grazing enables a decrease in supplemental intake
5. It becomes comparatively easier to move manure or change bedding. Since rotational grazing prevents exposure of equine to one particular area, the equine waste will simply decompose itself.
6. A tremendous increase in plant health, owing to the time of rest and recouping from the grazing period.
7. Rotational Grazing enhances soil life and quality. Whilst a selective area is open to access for equines to graze, they almost only consume about 50 to 60 percent of the total forage growth. The remaining 40 to 50 percent is trampled to the ground, fertilising the soil and increasing its life and strength to behold the roots of a plant.
8. Since rotational grazing promotes movement of the equines, cattle, etc., collection of feces in one particular area decreases, reducing the unpleasant smell of the decomposing feces.
9. Enhanced biodiversity as the plants that cannot withstand constant grazing gets a chance to grow and flourish, also adding value to nutritional balance for your equine.
10. Rotational grazing helps you keep your pet-friends really happy!
Animals are fond of moving from one place to the other and moving every day or every alternate day to a new place is bound to increase their happiness quotient.
It is a natural process for animals to be on a constant move, being able to be at their natural best, it does not only benefit the animals but also the ecosystem at large.
Holistic living is the best kind of lifestyle to carry forward and pass it down from one generation to the other. As precious you treat your pet friends, it is even more important to consider their overall health, their holistic well-being and the well-being of the precious ecosystem.
Managed Grazing System or Rotational Grazing is not only a smart way to adopt, but it is also environment-friendly.