Management Intensive Grazing
Teaching the ABCs OF MIG
|Extension educators examine a mix of forages to determine its nutritive value for livestock. Management-intensive grazing (MIG) has been well-received by southern farmers and ranchers. SARE file photo|
Many farmers and ranchers in the Deep South want to learn how to raise forage for maximum nutrition for their livestock without overgrazing pastures. A SARE professional development program (PDP) grant has paved the way for many of them to get that information from Extension agents, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field specialists and other educators.
One of the first such trainings below the Mason-Dixon Line is helping to spread the word about management-intensive grazing (MIG) for cattle and dairy. Most southern pasturessupporting 30,000 to 50,000 pounds of beef per acre per day during the long growing seasonwill increase utilization of forage from 30 percent in conventional grazing to 70 percent in MIG. Producers move animals frequently, leaving them in a pasture just long enough to eat the nutritious new growth, without damaging the forage. "It means knowing your stock and what it likes to eat, knowing how many paddocks your pastures can be divided into, and managing resources like fencing and water availability," says Alan DeRamus of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. A series of training seminars and workshops that started in 1995 was so successful, two Extension agents who attended a program are adapting some of what they learned about MIG in producer training sessions in Florida. One central Florida program drew about 200 ranchers. (LST94-3)