The trick about intensive rotational grazing is the intensive rotation, isn’t it? Every year is the same. We think, read, think some more, and then set up a paddock; twenty-four hours later we take a look at the impact, ponder again, and set up a new one. Perfect grazing probably only exists in the imagination, but even our amateur efforts always seem to improve the pastures.
Green-up started early this year, with warm temperatures and sunshine in March. Grazing the last of the stockpile with early grass coming up through was ideal, and, anyway, we were running pretty short on hay, and while we could have hauled more, we figured maybe we didn’t need to. We put all the cows together (dry cows, lactating cows, and steers), and took them around the farm in a three-week turn, covering almost everything. Maybe it was a little early. The ideal (according to present wisdom, at any rate) is not to show any hard lines between grazed and ungrazed on this first pass, but who is going to define ‘hard’ in this case? April rain is a little thin; if the ground dries out, regrowth is going to slow way down. Half an inch of rain last week got things jump-started again, and considering this is, after all, only late April, we’re looking at good grass for beginning our second pass over the farm. The animals are fattening visibly, and the milk in the bucket has doubled.