Canadian researchers have found that swath grazing can cut winter feeding costs by as much as 50 percent. The practice can reduce labor and energy expenses associated with producing, storing and feeding hay. If swath grazing is managed properly, there should be no difference in body-condition score between cattle that are swath grazing compared to those being fed in a traditional manner in a dry lot. Swath grazing typically involves planting a small-grain crop, cutting it in late August/September when the crop is at the soft- to mid-dough stage, and leaving the forage in place for winter grazing. Researchers at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lacombe Research Centre recently conducted a three-year study of swath grazing and concluded that feeding-ground management is key to the cost effectiveness of the practice. The use of electric fencing to move cattle through the winter is critical for assuring they consume a balanced ration. Given access to the entire swath-grazing area, cows might eat all of the grain heads early in the season, leaving nothing but straw for the rest of the winter. Confining the cows helps assure they consume all of the forage before moving to a new area.