When we look at pasture utilisation for your business we first have to look at the five main procedures that will help you achieve this. These five main procedures are:

1).Determining the stocking rate.

2).Determining the grazing duration.

3).Start grazing.

4).Stop grazing.

5).Rest periods.

 We will briefly review these four main procedures before assessing them in more detail.


1).Determining the stocking rate: It is essential  that you plan stock numbers for you cattle enterprise and also achieve the highest efficience of green pasture utilisation. To do this you must ensure that:

  • You use assessment techniques to calculate pasture mass.
  • Balance grazing pressure by matching availability with animal demand.
  • Use tactical grazing to meet different animal and pasture objectives.
  • Tactical grazing is easy to implement when a rotational system is already in place.
  • Planning and monitoring data.
  • Know what to measure and when ton measure it.


2). Determining the grazuing duration: Select a paddock and determine grazing duration to achieve best utilisation and animal performance targets. To ensure you get the best utilisation and animal performance you must:

  • Select grazing paddocks to meet production targets.
  • Best production is achieved when paddocks are grazed no longer than three days.
  • Tactical grazing ensures best pasture use and animal productivity.


3). Start grazing: When you start grazing you should aim to graze at a pasture mass between 1,500 and 2,500 kg DM/ha. To ensure that you get the best start when your animals start grazing:

  • Animal intake and productivity decline when pasture mass exceeds 3,000kg green DM/ha. 
  • You must measure plant growth stage and also the pasture mass.


4). Stop grazing: It is advised that you should stop grazing before pasture regrowth potential is affected. When your cattle stop grazing you should remember that:

  • Good pasture management ensures adequate rest and regrowth.
  • Timing when to stop grazing is critical to pasture and animal productivity.
  • Overgrazing effects the rate of pasture regrowth, composition and persistence.


5).Rest periodsRest from grazing enables pastures to regrow and store energy reserves before the next grazing event. To ensure this you must:

  • Use pasture growth phenology to predict teh date of regrazing and to rebuild energy reserves.
  • Determine the pasture rest (regrowth) period for your farm.