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Benefits of Mob Grazing
At the end of the day, mob grazing is just a more intensive approach to rotational grazing. However, mob grazing does have some distinct benefits:
1. Uniform consumption of forage
Being in a smaller area means nearly all of the forage gets attention, leaving a uniformly grazed pasture area when the cattle move on.
2. Even distribution of manure and urine
With a concentrated amount of cows in a restricted field, cows only have so much space to distribute waste.
3. Uneaten forage becomes organic matter for soil
Being in a small space means less room to wander, which means cattle naturally trample whatever forage isn’t consumed into the soil.
4. Lower stocking densities
Not to be confused with stocking rate, Iowa State University animal science professor Jim Russell believes producers can get by with lower stocking densities.
“We’ve utilized stocking densities of close to a half million pounds per acre and moved the cows four times a day,” Russell said. “But then we’ve compared it to a stocking density that would be four times less than that, so about 120,000 pounds of beef per acre and moved the cows once a day. We didn’t see any difference in the effects on the pastures.”
Russell admits that because mob grazing is so intensive compared with other rotational grazing systems, forage does take longer to re-establish. But for those with CRP acres, rented land, or land meant for recreational purposes, mob grazing may be a beneficial practice.
“I think one thing that has caught people’s attention with mob grazing is the thought that they are actually increasing their stocking rate, and actually may have to decrease the total stocking rate of their pastures,” Russell said. “Because, when you graze down the forage as close as what you do in a mob grazing situation, it actually has relatively slow regrowth.”