The importance of planning an autumn grazing rotation

Monday, 4 September 2023

Planning the autumn grazing rotation for the closing period is crucial. It allows you to maximise forage resources, preserve pasture health, manage animal health, and prepare for the winter season. Proper planning and thoughtful management are the keys to reaping the benefits of a well-executed autumn grazing rotation.

Autumn is a critical time for livestock farmers as they prepare for the coming winter. Planning the autumn grazing rotation is one of the most vital aspects of this preparation.

Proper planning during this season can significantly impact the health and wellbeing of your livestock, the productivity of your pastures, and the overall success of your farm.

In this article, we will explore the importance of planning the autumn grazing rotation and how it can benefit both your animals and your farm's sustainability.

Autumn is a transitional period when the growing season starts to slow down. Effectively planning your grazing rotation ensures that your livestock can make the most of the remaining forage resources in your pastures.

Grazing management during this time is crucial to prevent overgrazing and to leave enough grass cover to protect against soil erosion and maintain soil health. It is important to keep measuring, look at long-range weather forecasts and use your grazing software to help you make good decisions.

By carefully managing your grazing rotation, you can extend the availability of high-quality forage, allowing your animals to maintain their condition and health throughout the autumn months.

This helps reduce the need for supplemental feed, saving you money and ensuring that your livestock are in the right condition as they head into the winter.

Effective autumn grazing rotation is not just about the wellbeing of your livestock; it also plays a vital role in preserving the health of your pastures. Overgrazing can lead to soil compaction, reduced grass production, and increased weed infestations.

By implementing a well-planned rotation, you can avoid overgrazing and promote even forage utilisation, allowing your pastures to recover and regenerate before winter.

Using the autumn rotation planning tool will help to plan autumn grazing. As average farm cover builds up in August and September, the planner will calculate the percentage of the platform to be grazed each week.

Rotational grazing during the autumn months allows rested areas of your pasture to recover while other sections are grazed.

This approach can lead to improved pasture productivity in the long term, ensuring a sustainable source of forage for your livestock come spring.

Autumn rotation planner

  • Start planning mid-August
  • Helps extend grazing season
  • Sets out the fields that should be grazed each week
  • Sets up farm in final rotation to maximise growth over winter for grazing next spring
  • Flush of grass growth in late August/September helps build up average farm cover

As autumn progresses, the nutritional content of forage decreases, making it essential to closely monitor your livestock's health.

Planning your grazing rotation enables you to keep a close eye on your animals' condition and ensure they are receiving the right nutrition.

If forage quality declines, you can supplement their diet with appropriate feeds or forage alternatives to prevent weight loss and maintain overall health.

Additionally, effective rotation can help prevent the buildup of internal parasites in your pasture. Moving animals to fresh grazing areas and allowing contaminated areas to rest reduces the risk of parasite infestations, reducing the need for deworming treatments.

Furthermore, planning allows you to assess your winter feeding strategy and make any necessary adjustments. Knowing the condition of your pastures and the nutritional status of your animals allows you to allocate resources efficiently, ensuring that your livestock needs are met.