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Topics : Pastures : 4 Steps to Rotational Grazing

4 Steps to Rotational Grazing

  • Introduction
  • STEP 1: Determine Number of Animal Units
  • STEP 2: Estimate Number of Acres Needed
  • STEP 3: Estimate the Number of Paddocks Needed
  • STEP 4: Estimate Size of Each Paddock

Additional pasture information via the Forage Information System (FIS)


Step 1: Determine the number of animal units (AU) that will be in the grazing system.

The first step into rotational grazing is to determine the forage requirements of the herd or flock. Dry matter forage intake varies by animal species and class. The concept of animal units gives a much better measure of pasture required, as compared to using animal numbers. One animal unit is based on the daily forage intake of one 1000 lb dry cow (about 25 pounds of dry forage per day). Table 1 gives some typical animal unit values for various species and classes of livestock.

Determine number of AU using this equation:

AU X Number of Animals = AU

Example herd

1300-lb cow w/calf = 1.6 AU. 1.6 AU X 30 = 48

2000-lb bull =1.7 AU. + 1.7 AU X 1 = 1.7

49.7 (50) AU in herd