When Missouri mob grazier Greg Judy spoke in Oklahoma City recently he warned other graziers to consider livestock performance just as much as forage and soil improvement.
He said he made the mistake of letting animal performance suffer because he was so enamored with improvements in the land.
Our friend Ian Mitchell-Innes from South Africa recently wrote a response to a letter in which he addressed this same issue. In response to a letter from a critic claiming a dairy farmer was going broke from mob grazing and resulting lack of production he said:
“They are obviously starving their animals by believing 'mob-grazing' means eating or trampling everything. This is a problem I frequently need to deal with and the remedy is quite simple. Instead of monitoring by looking at the ground, they need to be monitoring by looking at the animal or the production (milk). Dairy is easy -- milk volume every day-- whereas with beef it is more difficult as the result only hits the pocket 18 months down the line.”
Mitchell-Innes and Judy and others who manage animals in planned grazing say watch the animals’ attitudes when it is time to move. They should not seem urgent at the gate and should not act especially hungry when they enter a new paddock but should be eager and move into the paddock grazing but not with head down constantly. They should maintain a full, satisfied look in their flanks, especially on the left side and they should be healthy, with no outbreaks of pinkeye or other stress-related diseases.