MOB Grazing

Published on: 20:25PM Feb 12, 2010
Grazing/Cattle wizard Greg Judy is growing 200% more forages than he used to by simply “MOB”ing his Cattle! “It’s like having twice the land only better!” “Because it comes with added benefits”.
   In an article I read recently, Greg offered the records of a 60-acre property he manages as part of his Missouri ranch. He figures his grazing totals using animal days of grazing, with one animal being one 1,000-pound cow or the equivalent.   Therefore, one animal day of grazing is the equivalent of one 1,000-pound cow grazing. Greg and his wife accomplish their high-stock-density grazing almost entirely with temporary electric fencing. From year to year, fences and grazing paddocks on their ranch are never the same; except for their perimeter fences (which are high tensile), nearly everything is fenced with temporary posts and poly wire.
Greg says after having moved their temporary wires only a few times, they learned how to estimate
paddock size needed for their herd when they are moved daily. They can string out all their paddocks for a week in about four hours.
August 2009 BP7
Mob grazing offers 200% more forage
   Before MOB Grazing, Greg & his wife use to graze 36 of their cattle for 180 days on this 60-acre farm, thereby getting 6,480 animal days of grazing for the year from about May 1 through Nov. 1. Using this Management-intensive Grazing system, they produced no stockpile for winter grazing.
Under their current mob grazing practices they are running 240 cattle of all ages for 30 days in the summer and 30 days in the winter, thereby getting 14,400 animal days of grazing for the year. They don’t separate the calves from the heifers, bulls, steers etc. They run them all together with no problems thus far with having yearling heifers bred too early as one would expect. This is something I found out at a conference I recently attended in Albany, NY that was hosted by Cornell CO-operative Extension. One of the guest speakers (Dr. Allen Williams of Tall-Grass Beef), whom I thoroughly respect, brought this running of all age cattle together idea to the attention of all the attendees. And it was surprisingly well received. At my table alone 3 out of the 4 producers agreed that we were going to try this approach to running cattle. The point that really got my attention, as well as the producer next to me, was when Dr. Williams simply stated that “The Buffalo were never separated when they roamed the Great Plains”! That’s when the gentleman next to me leaned over and said “Sounds like you have a head start on the rest of us!” The reason he stated that was because at The Kuhn Family Farm we breed/graze 100% Grass-fed BEEFALO. We’re currently running all our cattle together in one herd, and will keep you posted periodically on how it works out. So far so good!
   Getting back the The Judy’s MOB Grazing set-up, they plan paddocks around their water sources, using lanes back to water and sometimes allowing some back-grazing for a day or two on previously grazed areas closer to water. Greg added that after visiting with people from more arid regions, like Montana and the Dakota’s, he has stopped worrying about the distance cattle must travel to water.  Research has shown/suggested that for uniform pasture utilization, a water source should be located within 700’ of where your cattle are being grazed.  People sometimes ask Greg if this daily move isn’t a bit too much work.   “Not really”, he & his wife answer, considering the benefits.   Most people look at their cattle every day, and in the long run it takes less time to move them 365 days a year than it does to put up and feed hay.
   MOB Grazing is a holistic management principle. It is a technique where you are using your cattle to maximize the overall herds effect on your pastures. In return it has been proven to heal the land. The secret to successful MOB grazing isn’t the stockpiling of the forages to be grazed, rather the lengthy recovery periods between grazing. Another benefit to MOB Grazing is due to the high hoof to soil contact, it evenly distributes the manures. That way you don’t need to spend time and money on fuel and equipment to “drag” your pastures so the manures left behind after grazing are evenly distributed.
   Greg Carlson, a cattle producer in Nebraska has put MOB Grazing practices to good use and proven they work with his stocking density of 300,000/lbs. of cattle per acre (1,000/lb. cow average), and moves them daily. Some producers have even used as much as 1,000,000/lb. stock density per acre. Obviously this is ultra high stock density, but it has shown to work well for the cattle, producer and the land grazed.
Additional benefits of MOB grazing:
-          Your pastures will have more water infiltration, which in return will increase drought tolerance. 
-          You’ll see more plant diversity and biodiversity without having to re-seed or inter-seed, saving you even more time and money!
RECOVERY TIME between grazing is the only management tool you really need. Recovery time is the time it takes a plant to recover from the last period of grazing. Remember, the ROOTS need to be fully recovered prior to re-grazing, not just what’s above ground and visible to the eye.
Signs that your stocking density is too low:
-          Cattle Trails.
-          Non uniform grazing.
-          Bare ground/selective grazing.
-          Erosion.
-          Soil “Capping”
and lastly....Invasive plants. CATTLE EAT WEEDS!! Let them!