Establishment of a Grazing Management School for Producers
The lack of proper grazing management is a common and widespread problem on pastures and other grazing lands in the South and especially in Alabama. Cattle producers, as a group, have done a good job with cattle production and management practices but have done a poor job of grazing management. As a result, use of southern forage resources and grazing lands has not proceeded in a sustainable manner.
Lack of proper grazing management results in reduced productivity and vigor of the forage resource. Furthermore, depending on the forage species, improper grazing practices may result in loss of the stand. Grazing that is not managed will severely restrict leaf growth of the forage plants. Above-ground leaf area is directly proportional to the quantity of roots below ground; poor leaf cover means poor root development.
Rotational grazing management systems that are based on a rigid time table of grazing and rest periods without the producer having a knowledge of practical applications of plant physiology will ultimately result in overgrazing and a failure of the grazing system when growth rates change. This has been a common problem with rotational grazing systems in Alabama and other southeastern states.
This producer organization proposes to train producers in the basic concepts of proper rotational grazing management through the establishment of a grazing management school. They will conduct a grazing management school where producers will receive two to three days of basic information, as well as the opportunity to see grazing principles demonstrated. Producers will also have the opportunity for a hands-on application of the information. This will be an effective opportunity to present rotational grazing as a sustainable system for managing grazing and forage resources.