Penn State
ForagesPeopleTopicsResourcesSelection ToolContact Info

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 4: Estimate how large each paddock should be.

Paddock size depends on the AU in the herd, the amount of available pasture at the beginning of grazing, and the desired grazing period. Available pasture refers to that present in a paddock at the start of grazing minus the amount present when the animals are removed from the paddock. Typical Pennsylvania pastures, depending on density of plants, have about 300 lb of pasture for each inch of height. If a herd is turned into a paddock when the pasture is 7 inches tall and taken off when the pasture is 4 inches tall, approximately 900 to 1000 lb of pasture was available.

In order to calculate paddock size, divide the total number of acres by the number of paddocks in the system.

Example herd

The herd will graze 60 acre and there are 13 paddocks.

60/13 = 4.6 acre in each paddock