Year-round grazing is determined more by your attitude than by your environment.
As you work on improving your pasture quality, it's smart to think about how to extend your grazing season. Grazing all year round is very well possible in the Netherlands.
The longer your grazing season is, the less winter fodder you need to harvest and feed.
Harvesting, storage and feeding of roughage in the winter is a lot more expensive than grazing it directly. Extending the grazing season is one way to reduce costs in the winter and fall. By aiming for a grazing season as close to 12 months as possible, your feed costs can be minimized. Feed costs can consist of purchase and freight costs or the costs of harvesting, fuel and maintenance of machines as well as labor costs for moving, storing and spreading manure.
Looking for opportunities to keep livestock in the pasture, harvest their own feed and spread their own manure is an obvious way to reduce costs and increase your margin (Own Added Value).
Livestock farmers in the Netherlands can graze very easily in winter due to the mild climate. Stocking up on stock is an important part of extending the grazing season.
Planning for this is very important!
One of the benefits of Management Intensive Grazing (An improved version of strip-grazing) is healthier plants that not only produce more under this grazing system, but also ensure that you can graze all year round. A fodder crop what helps with that are productive herbal leys – Saladebuffet.
Saladebuffetten have up to 19 different types of plants, all with their own growth pattern.
This ensures that they start early in the spring and continue to produce well until late in the fall.
By planning grazing dilligently, so that each pasture gets the right rest period and your forage crop is not overgrazed, will extend the grazing season in a natural way.
Over time, this can extend the grazing season by several weeks or even months.
Winter grazing presents us with some greater challenges than grazing in the summer, but it is mainly a question of the right attitude. What is "normal" or "crazy" is just a matter of perspective.
Think about this:
– Most Pure Grazers that can graze well in winter use a spring calving herd. This timing minimizes nutrient requirements in winter.
– Should you change your calving season for the lowest cost?