Mob Grazing at treway

mob grazing

What is ‘Mob Grazing’?

Mob grazing is a grazing method of frequently moving livestock around a field to graze different sections systematically in rotation. Also known as cell grazing, intensive rotational grazing or strip grazing.

Mob grazing is all about emulating nature, think back to the thousands of bison and wildebeest travelling over vast areas, staying in a tightly knit group for safety. They would eat the fresh grass in that patch, dung, urinate and trample the grass then move on to the next area. They then wouldn’t return to graze that patch again for months even years. Back on the farm we can emulate this by grazing the cattle in a small area for a short duration then resting that section before grazing again.

The cattle will at first sight often look like they are grazing in a hay field as the grass is left to grow much longer than in a traditional grazing system where cattle are put in one large area for a long length of time.

There are numerous benefits to mob grazing;

1, Pasture is given time to regenerate. In a traditional grazing method the plant leaves are continually being munched so are often eaten before the plant has time to produce sugars from photosynthesis and build up root reserves. Whereas in mob grazing the plants are allowed to regrow, photosynthesise and build up root reserves. A deep and healthy root system is much needed as our climate warms. Plants with a shallow root system will quickly burn off in the summer months whereas plants with a deep and healthy system will be draught resistant as they can tap into underground water.

2, Storage of sugars in the roots builds soil carbon and improves organic matter. The sugars leak out and feed the micro-organisms in the soil.

3, It reduces the need to worm cattle. By grazing tall grasses it reduces the risk of cattle ingesting larvae and the rest periods help to break the natural parasite cycle.

4, As the cattle are all grouped together we get a much better look at each animal as it walks past into the new area of grass. This means any signs of lameness or problems with the cattle are picked up immediately.

How does it work?

Well in each field we will have an electric fence to keep the cattle where they are supposed to be. Then we will run a fence further into the field which will make the next strip they graze. On each move we simply open the first fence and the cattle are keen to move and will file into the next section. We then take down the first fence and move it further into the field to create the next strip. And the cycle continues until they have grazed across the entire field at which point we will set up in the next field.