Grazing Plans, Inventories and Health Assessments

What Makes a Good Grazing Plan?

A good grazing plan doesn't simply tell you when it's time to move your cattle to the next pasture. A good grazing plan can help you bank forage, survive drought, decrease bare ground and improve biodiversity, all while improving wildlife habitat. 

The basic building block of a grazing plan is to know how to identify and properly utilize each different species on your rangeland. Where are the growing points on these plants and how low can they be grazed without causing damage to the root system? What is the palatability of each of these plants and what time of year are livestock most likely to eat them? How many pounds of palatable forage per acre do I have on my rangeland? All of these questions can be answered by doing a Rangeland Inventory while using Ecological Site Descriptions.

The next step is to conduct a Rangeland Health Assessment(RHA), again using Ecological Site Descriptions, to determine soil stability, biotic integrity and hydrologic function of your rangeland. 

The Inventory and RHA, together, can give you a snapshot in time of how your rangeland is functioning and how you should approach your grazing plan.

Tools of the trade
Tools of the trade