The Effect of Management Intensive Grazing on Carrying Capacity in a Commercial Cow-Calf Operation Located in South Central Nebraska

Project Overview

FNC21-1284
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $8,997.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: BarWD Ranch Company
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
William Korinek
BarWD Ranch Company

Commodities

  • Animals: bovine

Practices

  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, rangeland/pasture management, stocking rate

    Proposal summary:

    Commercial beef cattle in South Central Nebraska is not economically viable as the sole source for income because ecological characteristics, such as soil profile, precipitation and grass species, limit stocking rates. Ranchers and farmers in other regions have overcome these obstacles by increasing grazing efficiency through rotational grazing. However, South Central Nebraska is thought to be a poor choice for a management intensive grazing system due to the terrain. The topography of the Loess canyons makes cross fencing difficult and the frequent movement of temporary hotwire fence, that characterizes other rotational grazing operations, is simply not feasible; the long distances and difficult terrain would make such an endeavor a poor use of time and energy. What's needed is an inexpensive and easy to install fence, that isn't frequently moved and allows the producer to intensively manage the pastures. If such a system could produce a 10-30% increase in carrying capacity and reduce hay costs while improving soil and pasture productivity, it would allow ranchers in South Central Nebraska to become more financially independent. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Increase grazing efficiency and carrying capacity
    2. Improve soil health and pasture productivity 
    3. Share project results with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, and social media. 
    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.