Mob Grazing is a “new” grazing technique that has been slowly sweeping Wisconsin and the upper-Midwest for the last decade. This technique attempts to simulate historical grazing patterns conducted by native herbivores with a range of domesticated livestock.
While Mob Grazing is similar to rotational grazing, producers who implement this practice typically graze forage that is taller and more mature, with more animals per unit area, faster paddock moves, and a longer regrowth period after grazing events. Graziers use this new technique for a variety of reasons including weed control, even distribution of manure, pasture resilience, decreased animal selectivity and even to improve soil health.
While there may be benefits, there are also concerns about potential negative impacts. “In Their Own Words” is a video series created by the University of Wisconsin-Extension that takes a closer look at what mob grazing really is and how it’s being used on the landscape. Farmers featured in the video have utilized mob grazing in some form as part of their pasture- and herd-management strategy, and are excited to share their successes as well as their failures. They define mob grazing, discuss benefits and risks, and give suggestions on how to implement this practice.
The four videos can be found on Forage Hay and Grower Magazine’s YouTube channel or by using these links:
1. Intro and definition of Mob grazing: http://go.wisc.edu/flaoh2
2. Mob grazing benefits: http://go.wisc.edu/d9e991
3. Disadvantages of Mob grazing: http://go.wisc.edu/42u1g2
4. How to implement Mob grazing: http://go.wisc.edu/cuf83j
“As this can be a controversial and often misunderstood practice, we wanted to let the producers who have used mob grazing speak for themselves,” said Anders Gurda, associate researcher, and producer of the videos. “Surveys have shown, again and again, that farmers learn best from each other, and one of our goals as researchers is to facilitate these educational conversations.”
Gurda traveled to farms in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to speak with dairy, beef and diversified livestock producers, all of whom have adopted, and adapted, mob grazing to suit their own operations. Their stories will help viewers understand why, how and when to use mob grazing.
The video series was created by the University of Wisconsin-Extension with support from Hay and Forage Grower magazine, the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS), the Ceres Trust, and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).