Grazing management to improve production

The aim of good grazing management is to achieve high livestock production without degrading pastures over time.

Grazing management plan

Your grazing management plan should:

  • analyse the current situation (climate, pasture, soil, water, human resources, finances and livestock) and calculate long-term carrying capacity
  • identify ways to maximise or improve rainfall use, and optimise pasture utilisation
  • consider different grazing strategies and their possible impact on livestock productivity, productivity and condition of pastures, land condition and financial returns
  • include how you are going to monitor and record.

Use these resources for grazing land management when developing your grazing management plan.

Grazing strategies

Consider these grazing strategies to make the best use of your pasture:

  • continuous grazing — the least preferred grazing strategy, where stock are run in a paddock continuously over time, with pastures never or rarely spelled
  • rotational grazing — stock are moved between paddocks, destocking and resting (spelling) a paddock after use
  • spelling paddocks — paddocks are completely rested for a period, for replenishment, seeding or regeneration
  • time controlled (cell) grazing — a form of rotational grazing where small paddocks are heavily stocked for short periods, followed by long spelling.

Recognise the first signs that indicate a pasture is being overgrazed.

Total grazing pressure

Total grazing pressure is the ratio of the total demand for pasture by livestock and native and feral herbivores, over the amount of pasture that is available for them:

  • high pressure — when pasture is limited
  • low pressure — when pasture is plentiful (during growth seasons).

Total grazing pressure can change quickly depending on:

  • rainfall and temperatures
  • livestock breeding rates
  • stock sales
  • number of native or feral animals.

Monitor total grazing pressure to keep it at a reasonable level.

Balance total grazing pressure (PDF, 1.6MB) by:

  • limiting livestock grazing through rotational grazing and spelling
  • selling livestock
  • agisting livestock.

Forage budgeting

A forage budget helps you:

  • match your stock numbers with available pasture
  • manage pasture utilisation to maintain or improve land condition.

Inspect paddocks and estimate pasture available for grazing at the end of the wet season, then adjust stock numbers to ensure you meet residual pasture yield and ground cover targets. Targets will depend on your land type and average rainfall.

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