Mobile Unit to Facilitate More Intensive Rotational Grazing

Project Overview

FNC19-1165
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $25,383.00
Projected End Date: 12/28/2021
Grant Recipient: University of Minnesota Extension
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Rod Greder
University of Minnesota Extension

Commodities

  • Agronomic: clovers, grass (misc. annual), grass (misc. perennial), medics/alfalfa
  • Animals: bovine

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems

    Proposal summary:

    Rotational grazing has many environmental and productivity benefits but requires a higher level of management and more time. Moving cattle often can be a hassle to transport water tanks, mineral tubs, fly control rub, fencing, back scratchers, shade, etc. A mobile unit to house this equipment that could be pulled with 4 wheeler, tractor or pick up would lessen time demands and increase adoption of  true rotational grazing.

    There are many benefits ascribed to intensive grazing systems and many how-to references to educate graziers on best practices. Some sources do mention the increased time requirements and increased supply needs for temporary fencing and accessible water. However, I’ve rarely encountered references to the physical hassle of moving all the associated feedstuffs, supplies and equipment often needed to support cattle in a real-life cell-grazing situation. I personally dread moving multiple items so much that I’ve lessened the frequency of my moves to save time and hassle. This is counter-productive. This time crunch is accentuated for any grazier that also works off the farm or has other on-farm demands.

    We will survey grazier needs, conduct focus groups, design and test a prototype, determine costs and pricing, conduct demonstration days and distribute plans and designs.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Determine the features of a mobile unit to support streamlined moves during rotational grazing. Conduct needs survey to prioritize utility needs.
    2. Construct rough prototypes for feasibility testing. Determine customization and sizing needs for operations of different size and objectives.
    3. Determine costing and pricing considerations for adoption by target market(s).
    4. Conduct demonstrations and outreach at field days and with focus groups.
    5. Create final design(s) and determine dissemination strategy – release plans to public, partner with manufacturer to build or other methods.

    Example of mobile unit we envisage starting with: SARE-Mobile-Unit-Drawings

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.