Shade for Grazing Animals

Organic Agriculture March 21, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF

eOrganic author:

Mike Gamroth, Oregon State University

When the temperature rises above 75°F, grazing livestock benefit from shade and cooling. Shade can be as simple as trees planted in or on the border of pastures. During early afternoon, there should be a minimum of 25 square feet of shade per animal. This can be challenging when intensively grazing small paddocks with many cattle. One solution is to allow easy access to barns during the hottest part of the day when cattle are not as apt to be actively grazing.

Some producers use portable shades made from pipe frames topped with shade cloth. These shades can be towed from pasture to pasture and used in bedded corrals. For an example of one design for cattle shade, see the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service factsheet, Shade Options for Grazing Cattle.

mobile shade for grazing cows
An example of mobile shade structure for grazing animals. Photo credit: Mike Gamroth, Oregon State University.

References and Citations


This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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