Submitted to: Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 1/12/2007
Citation: Gillespie, J., Wyatt, W., Venuto, B.C., Blouin, D., Boucher, R. 2007. The Economics of Rotational Grazing in the Gulf Coast Region: Costs, Returns, and Labor Considerations. Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists Proceedings. Interpretive Summary: Rotational stocking (grazing) of pastures has been promoted by a number of groups as having natural environment advantages over continuous stocking (grazing) at similar stocking rates. In cases where continuous grazing is chosen over rotational grazing, lower stocking rates (animals per acre) generally have conservation benefits as overgrazing, and hence erosion, is less likely to result. Though rotational grazing or continuous grazing at lower stocking rates may be preferred from an environmental perspective, these practices are not routinely used by all cattle producers, raising the questions, (1) Are they profitable for cattle producers in the short run and (2) How do they affect management and labor requirements? Given the low adoption rate of rotational grazing and the apparent low interest in future adoption, as well as the wide array of stocking rates used for continuous grazing, the objectives of this study were to determine, for the U.S. Gulf Coast region, differences in (1) the profitability associated with rotational grazing using a high stocking rate and continuous grazing using high, low, and medium stocking rates, and (2) labor requirements under rotational and continuous grazing. This study differs from previous grazing studies not only because it deals with grazing in a particular region, but also because it uses data collected from a detailed time and motion study to analyze the differences in a key input: labor.
Technical Abstract: Labor and profitability associated with continuous grazing at three stocking rates and rotational grazing at a high stocking rate are compared. Profits are lowest for low stocking rate continuous grazing and high stocking rate rotational grazing. Labor is greatest on per-acre and per-cow basis with rotational grazing.