The controlled use of grazing to achieve community management objectives. In much
the same manner that the prescribed use of fire can be used to enhance, maintain, or
decrease the quantity, quality, and persistence of targeted plants or plant communities, so
can grazing when administered by prescription. In using the prescribed grazing concept,
forage quality, quantity, palatability, and toxicity are considered the primary plant factors
that impact animals. However, the influences of these factors on animal health, nutrition,
and ultimately average daily gain, milk production per cow, or other measure of
production are considered the consequences of grazing management which accrue
through the implementation of a grazing prescription.
In order to effectively utilize the prescribed grazing concept, the management objectives
for a particular plant, plant community, or animal production enterprise must first be
clearly identified. Once this has been done, the frequency, intensity, timing, and duration
of grazing events can be prescribed along with the method of stocking, and the kind,
number, and class of animals required to meet the stated objective or objectives. When
these factors are integrated with other planned forage and livestock management
techniques they form a prescribed grazing management plan.
Woodland Community Considerations
Prescribed grazing could be an appropriate practice in woodland management,
especially on private lands, providing a valuable economic benefit to landowners.
Although care must be exercised in stocking rates, timing and duration, grazing
could provide valuable system benefits in the form of woody stem control, and the
structure and diversity of the herbaceous layer, particularly for wildlife species
such as Northern Bobwhite.
As with fire, there will need to be a grazing-free interval in order to allow for the
recruitment of advance regeneration into the canopy.
Upland Forest Considerations
Grazing is generally not appropriate in forest communities.