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Grazing Management to Meet Animal Performance Targets Mark Kennedy State Grazinglands Specialist USDA-NRCS Houston, MO.

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Presentation on theme: "Grazing Management to Meet Animal Performance Targets Mark Kennedy State Grazinglands Specialist USDA-NRCS Houston, MO."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grazing Management to Meet Animal Performance Targets Mark Kennedy State Grazinglands Specialist USDA-NRCS Houston, MO

2 Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Livestock from Pasture INTAKEINTAKEINTAKE

3 Overview Balancing animal numbers and forage supply Balancing animal numbers and forage supply Matching diet quantity and quality needs Matching diet quantity and quality needs Matching grazing management and paddock numbers Matching grazing management and paddock numbers

4 Animal Intake / Stocking Rate There is only a certain amount of forage produced in any plant community that is available for use. Every acre can only support a finite amount of animal weight There is only a certain amount of forage produced in any plant community that is available for use. Every acre can only support a finite amount of animal weight Matching the type and number of livestock to the forage base is very important for meeting animal targets as well as maintaining pasture condition Matching the type and number of livestock to the forage base is very important for meeting animal targets as well as maintaining pasture condition

5 The 1 st Step: Balance Livestock Numbers with Forage Supply Stocking rate: The number of animals or animal liveweight assigned to a grazing unit on a seasonal basis. Carrying capacity: The stocking rate that provides a target level of performance while maintaining the integrity of the resource base. Stocking rate has a big effect on intake and availability.

6 Carrying capacity of pasture is determined by four factors Carrying Capacity = Forage Production X Seasonal Utilization Rate Daily Intake X Length of the Grazing Season

7 Carrying Capacity Example: Example: Stocker operation(buying 500# selling 800#) Stocker operation(buying 500# selling 800#) 200 day seasonal grazing (April 1 - Oct. 20) 200 day seasonal grazing (April 1 - Oct. 20) 16 paddock system (1-3 day grazing period) 16 paddock system (1-3 day grazing period) 8000 lb. total forage production (from history/experience, soil survey, forage suitability groups) 8000 lb. total forage production (from history/experience, soil survey, forage suitability groups)

8 Graziers Arithmetic Then …. Carrying Capacity = 8000 lb/acre X lb forage/lb liveweight X 200 days = 867 lb liveweight / acre

9 Graziers Arithmetic 867 lbs. per acre/500 lb = 1.73 steers/ac 867 lbs. per acre/500 lb = 1.73 steers/ac Can we stock 1.73 steers/ac initially? Can we stock 1.73 steers/ac initially? If we expect them to grow to 800 lb. then If we expect them to grow to 800 lb. then = 1300/2 = 650 (avg wt) = 1300/2 = 650 (avg wt) 867/650 = 1.33 steers/ac 867/650 = 1.33 steers/ac

10 Farm Stocking Rate Saleable Output Stocking Rate Effects Max production /ac (Hypothetical biological relationships and projected point of max profit for illustration purposes) Optimum Max Individual Performance Uneconomical/ Under utilized Unstable Overgrazed

11 Forage Intake on Pasture Quantity/Availability Quantity/Availability Proper stocking rates, grazing management Proper stocking rates, grazing management Quality Quality Grazing management, species selection Grazing management, species selection

12 Effect of Forage Availability on Relative Forage Intake

13 How much does a 1,000 lb Cow BW about 25lb DM With limited availability 19 lb DM Effect of Forage Availability on Relative Forage Intake

14 Intake 75% Availability 75% Availability Time spent grazing Time spent grazing 6–10 hours per day 6–10 hours per day 6–10 hours ruminating 6–10 hours ruminating Biting rate Biting rate Cattle avg. 50 bites/min Cattle avg. 50 bites/min Bite size Bite size Cattle average 0.3 g DM per bite Cattle average 0.3 g DM per bite Measured range of 0.07 to 0.59 g per bite Measured range of 0.07 to 0.59 g per bite Related to availability Related to availability 25% forage quality 25% forage quality

15 Factors Affecting Intake Dry matter intake = Biting Rate x Biting (grazing) Time x Bite Size Dry matter intake = 50 bites/min x 600 min/day x 0.3 g/bite = 9.0 kg or 19.8 lb DM intake per day

16 Factors Affecting Intake If bite size is only 0.07 g/bite 50 bites/min x 600 min/day x 0.07 g/bite = 2.1 kg or 4.6 lb DM intake per day If bite size is 0.59 g/bite 50 bites/min x 600 min/day x 0.59 g/bite = 17.7 kg or 38.9 lb DM intake per day

17 Effect of Forage Availability on Relative Forage Intake

18 The Quantity – Quality Compromise

19 Factors affecting forage quality u Plant maturity u Species u Plant Part

20 Factors affecting forage quality u Plant maturity n Growth stage n Length of rest period

21 Plant Growth Phases

22 Rest Period Needs days days days days days

23 Factors affecting forage quality u Plant maturity u Species

24 Factors affecting forage quality u Species n Legumes > grasses n Annuals > perennials n Cool-season > warm season

25 WinterSpringSummerFallWinter J F J F M A M J J A J J A S O N S O ND LEGUME, Cool seanon grass – based perennial pastures Winter Annuals-rye, ryegrass, triticale, brassicas High Quality Hay/stockpiled fescue Winter Annuals – rye, ryegrass, triticale,brassicas High Quality Hay/stockpiled fescue Summer Annuals- forage sorghums, sudangrass, millet, corn, crabgrass, perennial warm season grasses Forage Chain

26 Diversity is the Key Diverse pastures are more productive Diverse pastures are more productive Are less prone to disease and insect damage Are less prone to disease and insect damage Broadens nutritional opportunities of the grazing livestock Broadens nutritional opportunities of the grazing livestock Legumes provide nitrogen for the grass and improve overall diet quality Legumes provide nitrogen for the grass and improve overall diet quality

27 Factors affecting forage quality u Plant part n Leaves vs stems n First bite vs second bite

28 1 st bite: leaves with low fiber High quality 2 nd bite: medium quality 3 rd bite: stems with high fiber – low quality – leave for regrowth 1. Maturity 2. Species 3. Plant Part 3 Factors Affecting Forage Quality

29 Animal Requirements vs Forage Quality at Different Maturities Can use different stages of quality to our advantageCan use different stages of quality to our advantage Adjust body condition scoreAdjust body condition score Increase, maintain, or decrease body conditionIncrease, maintain, or decrease body condition Creep grazingCreep grazing Calves allowed to creep gaze into higher quality pastureCalves allowed to creep gaze into higher quality pasture Leader – Follower grazingLeader – Follower grazing Animals with highest nutrient needs graze pasture first followed by those with lower nutritional needsAnimals with highest nutrient needs graze pasture first followed by those with lower nutritional needs High Quality -First grazers Medium quality - Last grazers

30 Expected Intake of Different Quality Forages

31 Estimated Nutrient Content of Tall Fescue at Different Maturities NDF % ADF % CP % NEmMcal/lbNEgMcal/lb Vegetative Late boot Mature

32 Animal Requirements vs Forage Quality at Different Maturities Intake % bw Intake lb DM CPlbNEmMcalADGlb/day Requirement Performance Vegetative Late boot Mature < lb beef steer, 2.0 lb ADG

33 Monitor your forage for quality Brix Meter tests forage pH Paper monitor urine NUTBAL analyze manure Grab Samples tests forage Tried and true method How high is the pile?

34 Forage Quality: Pancake batter, Pumpkin Pies or Wedding Cakes?

35 The Key to Successful Grazing Management Flexibility Flexibility The ability to adapt or modify, being responsive to changing conditions

36 Grazing Management Objectives Have grazing animals take 1 large bite or mouthful (animal intake) off of as many plants as possible in a pasture (Utilization) Have grazing animals take 1 large bite or mouthful (animal intake) off of as many plants as possible in a pasture (Utilization) Remove the animals from the pasture before any regrowth occurs and by the time 50% of the current growth has been removed (plant persistence/health)(animal intake) Remove the animals from the pasture before any regrowth occurs and by the time 50% of the current growth has been removed (plant persistence/health)(animal intake) Have enough pastures to allow sufficient regrowth and rest before being grazed again (rest/plant health) (animal intake) Have enough pastures to allow sufficient regrowth and rest before being grazed again (rest/plant health) (animal intake) Mark Kennedy, Ozarkian, 2007

37 Plant Growth and Management: During grazing periods: control stubble height not too lowkeep growing points not too lowgood photosynthesis for regrowth not too lowkeep roots growing not too low – maintain bite size for intake Between grazing periods: schedule rest periods allow photosynthesis allow leaves to regrow to proper heights not too long or forage quality declines

38 Plant Growth and Management: Example: 12 paddock system Grazing period2 day 3 day4 day Rest Period 22 day 33 day 44 day Flexibility!

39 Matching Forage and Animal Resources Enterprises with higher potential net return require higher quality pasture and more intensive management Enterprises with higher potential net return require higher quality pasture and more intensive management Greater forage yield per acre Greater forage yield per acre Forage quality should be better Forage quality should be better Management must be more intensive Management must be more intensive Number of paddocks should be greater Number of paddocks should be greater

40 Matching forage and livestock resources Economic potential of grazing enterprises Economic potential of grazing enterprises Pasture-based dairy/Beef finishing Pasture-based dairy/Beef finishing Dairy replacements /Beef stockers Dairy replacements /Beef stockers Sheep and goats, Cow-calf, Horses Sheep and goats, Cow-calf, Horses Paddock #s

41 So how many paddocks do I need? It depends It depends length of grazing period desired length of grazing period desired producer goals, livestock performance producer goals, livestock performance length of rest period needed length of rest period needed Changes seasonally Changes seasonally rest period rest period grazing period + # herds = paddock # grazing period + # herds = paddock #

42 Grazing period Needs Plant based: Plant based: days fast grow days fast grow days daysmoderate slow growth slow growth Animal performance: Animal performance: day dairy cows/finishing days growing/fattening days lactating beef cattle, sheep, horses

43 Impact of Days on Paddock on Change in Sward Composition Impact of Days on Paddock on Organic Matter Intake

44 Rest period needs Rest period needs: days during rapid growth days during moderate growth days during slow growth days very slow growth Rest period needs: days during rapid growth days during moderate growth days during slow growth days very slow growth

45 How many paddocks do I need? Paddock Number = rest period grazing period + 1 Paddock Number = rest period grazing period + 1 Ex: 20 day rest period - spring 2 day grazing period +1 = day rest period - summer 2 day grazing period + 1 = 21 Ex: 20 day rest period - spring 2 day grazing period +1 = day rest period - summer 2 day grazing period + 1 = 21

46 How many paddocks do I need? Or: 40 day rest period 4 day grazing period + 1 = 11 Or: 40 day rest period 4 day grazing period + 1 = 11

47 Optimum Paddock #s based on Livestock Type (Rule of Thumb) Livestock type Grazing Period (Days) Paddock # Dairy/grass finishing 0.5 – Dairy heifer / beef stockers Cow/calf, Sheep, Goats, Horses

48 Summary Animals delight most to feed on fresh plants Animals delight most to feed on fresh plants Animals supplied with this kind of food would be quickly fatted Animals supplied with this kind of food would be quickly fatted If a farmer divided his land into equal divisions, If a farmer divided his land into equal divisions, Stopped his beasts from roaming indiscriminately Stopped his beasts from roaming indiscriminately Put the whole number of his beasts into one of these divisions Put the whole number of his beasts into one of these divisions Have the number of beasts so great as to consume the best part of the grass in one day Have the number of beasts so great as to consume the best part of the grass in one day

49 Summary contd: Give them a fresh park every morning to repeat the same repast Give them a fresh park every morning to repeat the same repast Have so many parks as days required to advance the grass to the proper length after being eaten fare down Have so many parks as days required to advance the grass to the proper length after being eaten fare down So the first park would be ready to receive them after going over all the others So the first park would be ready to receive them after going over all the others So they might be carried round in a constant rotation So they might be carried round in a constant rotation James Anderson, Scottish Agriculturalist, 1777 James Anderson, Scottish Agriculturalist, 1777

50 The End The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C or call (800) (voice) or (202) (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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