Welcome to the Master Grazer Educational Program

-an educational program to improve grazing practices in beef, dairy, goat and sheep herds


 

Grazing News Articles

Articles on forages, animals, and grazing systems



Additional Resources

 

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Forages
Extension Publications

 

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Master Grazer Educational Program reports to KY Ag Development Fund Board:

2016 Third Quarter Report
2016 Second Quarter Report
2016 First Quarter Report
2015-2016 Bi-Annual Report
2013-2014 Bi-annual Report
2012 Annual Accomplishments
2011 Annual Accomplishments


 

 

Contacts


Zach Workman

Master Grazer Coordinator
821B W.P. Garrigus Building
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY
40546-0215
(859) 257-7512
E-mail: zewo222@uky.edu

Faculty Coordinators:


Dr. Ray Smith

Extension Forage Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-3358
Fax: (859) 323-1952  
Email: raysmith1@uky.edu

Dr. Donna Amaral-Phillips

Extension Dairy Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-7542
Fax: (859) 257-7537  
Email: damaral@uky.edu

Dr. Jeff Lehmkuhler

Extension Beef Cattle Specialist
University of Kentucky
Phone: (859) 257-2853
Fax: (859) 257-3412  
Email: jeff.lehmkuhler@uky.edu


 

Rotational Grazing Practices Improves Soils


Implementing rotational grazing practices improves forage productivity. Plants often show an improvement not only in growth but rate of regrowth. Improvements in soils seen by rotationally grazing directly impact forage growth. These benefits are realized through reduced erosion, decreased soil compaction, and improved manure distribution.

 

More Groundcover Decreases Erosion

When using rotational grazing, cattle should be removed from cool-season pastures when residual forage is three to four inches high. By leaving this amount of forage, the soil is protected from rain, wind, and trampling while minimizing run-off and erosion. Thus, more water is made available for plant growth. Reducing soil erosion allows for nutrients and organic matter to be retained. In addition to protecting soil structure, leaving adequate forage height improves forage regrowth.

 

Compaction Reduced

Rotating cattle to a new paddock or pasture every three to seven days reduces time cattle spend creating high traffic areas. Areas for shade and water need to be rotated or constructed with materials which decrease soil compaction. Compaction is detrimental to soils because it restricts air and water movement. When soils are compacted pore space is reduced which changes soil structure, water infiltration capability, and amount of organic matter. Air and water movement are important for plants to take up nutrients and retain soil organic matter. Thus, a sacrifice area is important during wet conditions.

 

Better Distribution of Manure

When paddocks are designed so that cattle travel no more than 800 feet to water, manure is more evenly distributed. Manure contributes organic matter and nutrients to soils. Besides manure, organic matter in soils comes from decaying roots and plants leaves. Providing organic matter to soils increases plant root health and forage productivity.

 

When cattle are rotated in a regular pattern, grazing pressure is more uniform. Uniform grazing pressure allows producers to have consistent groundcover, reduced compaction, and increased soil organic matter, all of which builds soils. Soil is important because it allows for greater forage production. The greater forage production, the more day’s cattle can graze and less time is spent supplementing with hay and grain.