The Farm Chronicles/First Day on Pasture

First Day on Pasture

We needed to get the cows out of the winter cow yard for the day. Since the pasture was looking strong and ready for some herbivores, we set up a hot wire (electric fence), and the milking ladies were more than willing to do some grazing. While they contentedly munch away on baled grass and alfalfa all winter long in the winter yard, herbivores want to be out on pasture: it makes them happy, and them being on pasture makes the pasture happy. Double win! Grass and herbivores evolved together in a beautiful symbiotic relationship: the animals need the grass and the grass needs the animals. When managed well, pastures improve when they are grazed. We've been intensively managing the grazing of our pastures for a couple of years now. When we started, it was a pure application of theory, but over those years we've seen some pretty amazing things happen. Areas that were always dry now hold water better, areas with thistles and bindweed are now grasses and other pasture plants. We used to be able to find bare spots to put the water tank, but now the pastures are definitely bereft of useful bare spots.

If you're curious about the beautiful relationship between herbivores and grasslands and soil health and want to start exploring, here are a couple places to start: