Monitoring Regrowth

Planned grazing requires a short graze period (the shorter the better) & a recovery period that allows time for the plants to fully recover from the first graze before being grazed a second time. These 2 points are essential to proper grazing management.


The best indicator that plants are fully recovered is that the plants are ready to flower. At this stage of growth the root reserves are fully replenished. A second graze at this stage is beneficial to both the individual plants & the soil.

Each growing season is different. The best way to determine full recovery is to monitor the re growth in the first pasture that we grazed. Monitoring allows us to adjust our recovery period to match the growing conditions we are experiencing. If we are experiencing average growing conditions we will stay close to our planned recovery. In exceptionally good growing conditions we may shorten our recovery period. In exceptionally poor growing conditions we may lengthen our recovery period.

Changing our recovery period to achieve full recovery under all growing conditions requires that we change the severity of our graze. There is no other way to change our recovery period.

A common question is: how much grass should I leave behind when I move my cattle? The best answer I know is: leave as much grass behind as possible. The more you leave the better. The key point is that you must achieve full recovery. What this means is that a severity of graze that is moderate, light or severe can all be best depending on the growing conditions.

We do not move our cattle based on how much grass is in the pasture the cattle are in. We move based on the recovery period that we will require to achieve full recovery under this year’s growing conditions.

One of the most difficult things for newcomers to planned grazing is to move away from grass. Each of us has a sense of how much grass we would like to leave behind when we move our animals. If we use this we will stay too long in good growing conditions & move too quickly in poor growing conditions.

I invite you to monitor the regrowth in your pastures. Base your moves on the regrowth & achieving full recovery. I think you will be pleased with the results.

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