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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #379877

Research Project: Effective Cotton Genetics and Management Practices for Improved Cotton Quality and Production

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Mob and rotational grazing: weighing your options

item Billman, Eric
item WILLIAMSON, JESSICA - Pennsylvania State University
item Soder, Kathy
item Andreen, Danielle (elle)

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2020
Publication Date: 1/20/2021
Citation: Billman, E.D., Williamson, J.A., Soder, K.J., Andreen, D.M. 2021. Mob and rotational grazing: weighing your options. American Forage and Grassland Conference Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Grazing management has come to be dominated by a handful of strategies over the last 50 years. Two of these, mob and rotational grazing, present stark contrasts in terms of methodology, along with the benefits and challenges for the plants, livestock, and producers reliant on them. There is little work directly comparing the two systems, especially in the eastern US. We compared mob and rotational grazing systems over a 4-year period using a field grazing study at the Pennsylvania State University Hawbecker Research Farm. Our results indicated that mob grazing dry matter yields declined faster than rotational grazing, and that prolonged use of mob grazing eventually results in lower annual yields (6,700 lbs/ac) than rotational grazing (8,900 lbs/ac). Additionally, pasture species composition was heavily influenced by grazing management system, with grasses persisting better under rotational grazing (final rotational orchardgrass stand was 79%, while mob orchardgrass stand was 23%) , and alfalfa persisting better under mob grazing (final rotational alfalfa stand was 0%, while mob alfalfa stand was 26%). Finally, forage quality was impacted by management strategy, with rotationally grazed pastures having lower fiber levels (35% ADF) than mob grazed pastures (44% ADF). While neither option is universally superior, producers may use this knowledge to decide which system is best suited for the production needs.