Mob Grazing Increases Efficiency and Profitability of Livestock Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2011: $199,988.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Alexander Smart
South Dakota State University

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: grazing management, grazing - rotational, stocking rate
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: organic matter


    We demonstrated the influence of mob grazing on 9 cooperating ranches throughout South Dakota. The study took place from 2012-2014. We sampled soils and vegetation at each site. Three graduate students evaluated the impact of mob grazing on the 1) function of litter, 2) impact of pasture weeds, and 3) the harvest efficiency and trampling of vegetation. We also collected animal behavior data using pedometers on mob grazing versus a low stock density weekly rotation. A fourth graduate student investigated the economics of mob grazing. The final report includes the soil data to determine impact on soil carbon and nitrogen of mob grazing.

    Project objectives:

    1) Evaluate vegetation responses to mob grazing.
    2) Evaluate animal behavior in mob grazing versus low stock density weekly rotation.
    3) Evaluate soil carbon and nitrogen in mob grazed and rotational grazed sites.
    4) Evaluate economic models for profitability analysis.

    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.