Round Right Farm practices rotational grazing, which is great for the health of both cattle and pasture. The goal of our rotations is to give the cattle new pasture in its prime, improve the pasture's quality and maximize its biomass production over time. This takes place through two strategies.
Our main rotation strategy is to move the cattle to new pasture in its prime at least once a week or sooner throughout the season. We let them eat the pasture down, but not so much that its re-growth potential is hindered. Pasture that is clipped short will take much longer to re-grow the same amount of new biomass as pasture that is left somewhat taller. Pasture that is managed this way produces much more biomass than an ungrazed pasture because it always finds itself in the stage of maximum vegetative growth. In this way, rotational grazing not only allows the land to sustainably support more animals, it also sequesters much more carbon through the year than unrotated pasture. From the cattle's perspective, they not only continually encounter new pasture that is lush, but pasture that is also free of their manure. In this way they mimic a wild herd, which is always moving to new and better grass. This frequent movement also breaks the life cycle of manure-born parasites, since by the time fecal parasitic eggs can hatch, the cattle have moved on and the newly hatched worms have no habitat in which to thrive. Because of our rotational grazing, chemical dewormers are unnecessary and not used at Round Right Farm.
Our secondary strategy is what is known as mob grazing. Mob grazing entails moving the cattle to a smaller than normal paddock for a shorter period than our regular rotation. In this way, the cows "mob" their new pasture and thereby improve the quality of plants in the pasture. Plant species that are symbiotic with cattle (mainly grasses and clovers) have been adapted to withstand the trampling of their hooves and munching of their mouths. Species that are less nutritional (weeds) are less able to survive these pressures, especially when they are heavily hit during mob grazing. Although the grass is clipped shorter than would maximize biomass production, the suffering of the weeds creates less competition for the grasses and clovers, helping them to come back stronger once the cattle have moved on. The heavier than normal application of manure is also a boost of fertility to help them fill the new bio-vacuum. Mob grazing is also very effective at cutting off the life cycle of parasites since the cows are long gone by the time the parasitic eggs in their manure have had a chance to hatch.