Forage Chain

Our goal is to graze 365 days a year in a forward moving fashion. Cattle simply follows established paths and finds available paddocks all by themselves because we open and close gates. We still have to make them leave a paddock which is a way to simulate a predator approaching in the wild.

In order to reach our goal we want to develop a grazing system in which the animals can be moved always from one paddock to the adjacent paddock in a sequence.

Animal highway to access water

All paddocks are connected to the animal highway. Animals can leave or enter an available paddock at will to walk to any water source they want to go to. When done drinking they will return to the paddock with the open gate.

There is only one paddock with an open gate at any point in time.

Paddock design

  1. Each paddock has a gate to the animal highway

  2. Most paddocks have gates to all adjacent paddocks in order to allow a continuous flow of animals through paddocks in an established sequence.

  3. Some paddocks may need internal sectors with temporary fencing to avoid selective grazing. We try to keep the temporary fencing in place in order to reduce our workload.

With a growing herd the need for internal sectors will reduce and the allowed grazing time for small paddocks will shrink.

Ideal grazing sequence

The following is a description of the ideal grazing sequence. However, in reality grazing is determined by resting period and available forage in each paddock as reported in the Paddocks Application when sorting by resting period.

It is a long-term goal to modify the actual grazing sequence towards the ideal sequence by increasing the restig period for certain paddocks.

The sequence does not take into account any special use for holding pigs or crops.

Zone A coming from zone C and going to zone B

  1. from C01 to A16 across the easement
  2. from A16 to A15
  3. from A15 to A14
  4. from A14 to A11
  5. from A11 to A10
  6. from A10 to A08 (A08 has no access to water)
  7. from A08 to A09
  8. from A09 to A07
  9. from A07 to A06
  10. from A06 to A05 (A05 has no access to water)
  11. from A05 to A04
  12. from A04 to A03
  13. from A03 to A02 (transition is via the animal highway)
  14. from A02 to A01 (transition is via the animal highway)
  15. from A01 to A12 (transition is via the animal highway)
  16. from A12 to A13
  17. from A13 to A17
  18. from A17 to B01-a with a temporary fenced path across the easement

Zone B coming from zone A and going to zone C

  1. from A17 to B01-a with a temporary fenced path across the easement
  2. from B01-a to B01-b
  3. from B01-b to B03 (via the animal highway)
  4. from B03 to B06 (crossing the path to the compost area; water access via second gate to the animal highway)
  5. from B06 to B05 (across the animal highway)
  6. from B05 to B07 (across the animal highway)
  7. from B07 to B08
  8. from B08 to open area in zone C (via the animal highway)

Zone C as of yet as only one fenced in paddock (C01) and the remaining area is open.

Zone C coming from zone B and going to zone A

  1. from open area to C01
  2. from C01 to A16 across the easement