We have been practicing Rotational or ‘Time controlled’ grazing on Gundooee for about 13 years, and in that time have seen great change in both soil health and plant species. The main principle is to allow the plants to maximise their stored energy reserves (in their roots) to re-grow more- vigorously after a graze period. The vigorous growth creates more feed than pasture which is more ’set-stocked’, and also increases the life in the soil as the plants have a more active mineral cycle (hence improving soil microbe population and diversity).
There is also what is termed the ‘herd effect’, which is basically a term used to label the positive effects cattle have on the pastures (including soil disturbance and promoting plant growth). The rest period of the plants is the key, and this can be anywhere from 7 to 14 weeks (longer during the slower-growth periods of winter). The grazing period too is important (we graze for between 2 to 4 days), as stock should be removed before the young shoots begin to grow large enough to be eaten off.
Gundooee has 25 paddocks (used in the rotation) and usually we run just one mob of cattle. During a drought we can choose to run a separate ’sale’ mob so they can be preferentially fed (so-as to keep growth rates and fat scores going forward), and without the added expense of extra feeding of the younger cattle (which would be between 6 and 24 months away from sale).