Sunday, February 27, 2011

Grazing Management

I went out and helped Kim move the cattle yesterday. It was good, as I haven't been out in the paddock for a while. There is so much feed around after the rain and it all looks just fantastic. We practice a form of grazing management called cell grazing or time controlled grazing. It's based on the growth rate of the plant and the cattle graze the pasture when the grass is actively growing and therefore at it's most nutritious. The grass has more sugars at this time and therefore has more chlorophyll. Therefore it has a good balance of Omega 3's and Omega 6's. The cattle are only in each paddock for a short while and then moved to another paddock, before they eat the grass down too short. The paddock then has a long rest, giving the pasture a chance to re grow.

Apart from being more nutritious for the stock, this is also very beneficial to the environment, as it stores carbon. During the process of photosynthesis, the plant takes carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atomosphere, releases oxygen (O2)  back into the atmosphere and puts the carbon (C) into the soil, where an exchange process happens between the soil microbes and the plant roots. The microbes convert the nutrients in the soil into an available form for the plants to use. Cell grazing is ideal as it keeps the plant actively growing, thus photosynthesising.

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