Producers who use rotational grazing may find their pastures will offer years more use than pastures that don't use that grazing system, says a pasture expert with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
Rotational grazing is a system in which animals graze on multiple fields, giving each field a rest from feeding for weeks at a time.
The practice has become a more popular management tool among producers as its sustainability benefits become more widely known, said Gigi Neal, Ohio State University Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources and co-leader of OSU Extension's Ohio Women in Agriculture team.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college.
"Rotational grazing gives pastures time to grow in between feedings and has become a popular method to use in any animal grazing, whether it be equine or livestock," Neal says. "It's a sustainable agriculture tool that is being used because we want to maintain and build our pastures and want to sustain them for many years to come.
"It's important because if we keep grazing our animals on one field, it can completely ruin the pasture. This is one way to help ensure a viable future for producers."
Producers can learn more about rotational grazing during a two-day Equine Pasture Management workshop hosted by OSU Extension May 19 and 21.
The workshop will feature presentations by Bob Hendershot, retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, TJ Oliver, an NRCS-resources conservationist, and Troyce Barnett, an NRCS-state grazing specialist. The workshop is a collaborative effort with USDA-NRCS and the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District, and is sponsored by the Farm Bureau of Brown and Clermont counties.
The workshop is targeted to any producer who manages a pasture, Neal says. Participants will learn to improve management of pastures through soil and fertility management and also how to identify weeds that may be problematic for animals, she says.
The program is 6 to 9 p.m. on both days. The May 19 workshop will be held at Equisports, 2050 Cedarville Road, in Goshen, Ohio. The May 21 workshop will be held at the Grassy Acres Horse Retreat, 3991 Afton Elklick Road, in Batavia, Ohio.
The May 19 workshop sessions will include:
•Pasture Management and Paddock Design
•Soil and Fertility Management
The May 21 workshop sessions will include:
•Pasture Species Selection and Renovation, Fescue Management
•Mud Management and HUP/Access Road Installation