Whether on public or private rangeland, too much or too little grazing in one spot can be a problem. Range scientist Derek Bailey, PhD, from New Mexico State University’s Department of Animal and Range Science, has conducted research demonstrating that strategic placement of low-moisture, molasses-based supplement blocks can lure cattle to graze areas that typically receive little use. Ranchers can herd cattle away from sensitive areas and use the supplements to hold them in areas where more grazing and forage utilization is desirable. Bailey offers the following tips for targeting cattle grazing.

  • Familiarize cattle with the low-moisture blocks before placing the supplements on rough terrain or far from water.
  • Strategic supplement placement usually will be most effective for focusing grazing when the forage is dormant.
  • Place blocks in pairs, 30 to 40 yards apart.
  • To focus grazing use, place the supplement within one area of the pasture at a time rather than spreading across the pasture. Move to new areas as the containers are emptied and replaced.
  • Animal impact will be greatest within 10 yards of the blocks, so move placement sites to prevent excess impact. Placing blocks in areas with undesirable plants can help reduce their abundance.
  • Learn and use low-stress animal handling methods for herding cattle to targeted sites.
  • When moving cattle away from an overgrazed or riparian area to an underutilized area, herd them in the afternoon after they drink, so they will not immediately return to water.