Rangeland Grazing Systems

October 05, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Written by Rachel Frost and Jeff Mosley, Montana State University

A grazing system is a particular way of managing the interactions between plants, soils, and grazing animals. If you graze animals, you already have a grazing system of some kind. As you begin to design or redesign your grazing system, remember that any grazing management problem usually has many possible solutions, and very few things you can do are "right" or "wrong." Most of all, remember than no one grazing system is "best."

Most grazing management problems can be solved by addressing a few simple fundamentals or principles. The successful grazing plan creatively combines these principles specifically for your operation's unique circumstances. Your grazing system will be your particular way of managing your plants, soils, and grazing animals.

A variety of grazing systems have been used on rangelands in the western United States and Canada. Follow the links below to learn more about each system:

Deferred-Rotation Grazing

Rest-Rotation Grazing

Seasonal Suitability

Best Pasture

Managing Grazing in Riparian Areas - While not a grazing system by itself, grazing livestock in riparian areas requires special consideration. When riparian areas are present, it may be necessary to adjust grazing management within any of the grazing systems.

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.