Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps

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Summary: This paper refutes recent research that finds no benefits for vegetation or animal production under “multi-paddock rotational grazing” in comparison to continuous grazing. It finds that these studies were small scale and fixed protocol experiments that did not adequately match the experience of successful managers. Four key factors in successful  “multi-paddock rotational grazing” are identified: (1) Planned grazing and financial planning to reduce costs; (2) adjusting animal numbers or having a buffer area available so that animal numbers match forage availability in wet and dry years; (3) grazing grasses and forbs moderately and for short periods during the growing season to allow adequate recovery; and (4) Timing grazing to mitigate detrimental effects of defoliation at critical points in the grass plant life cycle.

Teague, W. Richard, Frederick Provenza, B. Norton, Tim Steffens, Matt Barnes, Mort. M. Kothmann, and Roy Roath. 2008. “Benefits of multi-paddock grazing management on rangelands: Limitations of experimental grazing research and knowledge gaps,” in Grasslands: Ecology, Management, and Restoration, H. G. Schroder (Ed), 41-80. Nova Science Publishers, NY.

See also:

Teague, Richard. 2014. “Deficiencies in the Briske et al. Rebuttal of the Savory Method.”  Rangelands 2014 (1):37-38. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2111/1551-501X-36.1.37.

Teague, Richard, Fred Provenza, Urs Kreuter, Tim Steffens, and Matt Barnes. 2013. “Multi-paddock grazing on rangelands: Why the perceptual dichotomy between research results and rancher experience?”  Journal of Environmental Management 128 (0):699-717. doi: `http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.05.064.

Teague, Richard. 2013. “Deficiencies in the Brikse Estimates of Carbon Sequestration on Rangelands.” Realclimate.org, accessed Nov 16, 2013. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/11/cows-carbon-and-the-anthropocene-commentary-on-savory-ted-video/comment-page-3/#comment-426736.