rotating

Cattle and Management Intensive Grazing

Senepol Cattle
Heritage breed Pineywoods Cattle graze
on the Kerr Center Stewardship Ranch.

Cattle and calves are the number one farm commodity in Oklahoma; the state ranks fifth nationally. Raising cattle in Oklahoma is not confined to the open spaces of the western counties, but is common throughout the state on farms both small and large, including in LeFlore County where the Stewardship Ranch is located. Therefore, managing animals, pasture, and rangeland in a sustainable manner is of crucial interest to local farmers and to Oklahoma agriculture in general.

One way to build fertility, recycle nutrients and conserve energy on pastureland is through the practice of rotational grazing (also known as cell grazing, management intensive grazing or controlled grazing).
In this approach emphasis is placed on management rather than the system or its components. Rotational grazing is the process of moving a herd of livestock from one pasture to another and allowing each pasture a period of rest before it is grazed again.

This form of grazing management is gaining popularity because of the need to increase production efficiency to cover the high cost of land, labor, and operating expenses. Changing from continuous to controlled grazing allows livestock producers to (1) increase stocking rates, (2) extend the grazing season, (3) increase nutrient recycling, (4) decrease labor, and (5) improve animal health and potentially lower parasite loads.

The Kerr Center’s focus on rotational grazing stems from the mutually reinforcing links this practice builds between the health of soils, plants, and animals.

The management of a rotational grazing system revolves around the period of rest plants receive during the growing season. During the rest period, plants are allowed to recover from grazing and produce new growth.

The length of rest varies with season and forage species and is based upon the amount of aboveground growth (residual dry matter) remaining in the pasture after the animals are removed. Pastures will recover faster and produce more usable forage when sufficient residual matter is left at the end of the grazing period.

The Kerr Center introduced rotational grazing to southeastern Oklahoma. The system works—soil fertility has been maintained at generally the same levels since 1986 without adding costly fertilizer.

Cattle on the Stewardship Ranch are of breeds adapted to the climatic conditions of southeastern Oklahoma. Heritage-breed Pineywoods Cattle form one of the Center's beef cattle herds, with a composite breeding of Gelbvieh and Angus for the other. 

The Pineywoods breed, descended from the first Spanish cattle in the New World, is tough and hardy, able to tolerate heat and humidity and thrive on pasture.

Contact

Will Lathrop
Cattle Manager

Learn More About:

Kerr Center Workshop:
Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock 2011

Over fifty people from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Kansas attended the Kerr Center’s “Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock” grazing workshop on Friday and Saturday, April 8-9, 2011.  Complete presentations and materials are available online.  Topics include soil health, animal health, grazing systems, and pasture management.

Kerr Center Field Day:
Multi-species Grazing (Cattle and Goat) Field Day 2010

Forty people from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas attended the Kerr Center’s multi-species grazing field day, hosted by Dr. Dave Sparks and his wife Linda, on Saturday, May 8, 2010 at their farm near Porum, OK.

Cowboy Arithmetic (estimating available forage)
Fact sheet by Ann Wells, April 2011

Electric Fencing Videos

Holistic Approach to Animal Health and Well-Being
Report by Ann Wells, April 2011

Management Intensive Grazing (Kerr Center Resources)

Heritage Breed Cattle

Kerr Center Programs:

 
Bookmark and Share Day to Day at the Kerr Center
donate now

Quicklinks

News & Events

What's New Online?
Calendar of Events
Past Events
Press Releases
Field Notes: Kerr
Center newsletter

Kerr Center Info

Day-to-day
Visit
Contact
About
History
Staff
Interns
FAQs
Blogs
Kerr Center Publications
2007 - Present

Additional Information

Find an OK Farm/Market!
Sustainable Ag/
Food Groups
Food and Agricultural Issues
Sustainable Agriculture
Selling Locally

Affiliated Groups

Land Legacy
Southern SARE
Oklahoma Food Cooperative
Oklahoma Sustainability Network Oklahoma Sustainability Network Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative
Contact:
The Kerr Center
for Sustainable Agriculture
24456 Kerr Road
P.O. Box 588
Poteau, OK 74953
Phone: 918-647-9123
Fax: 918-647-8712
mailbox@kerrcenter.com
Copyright © 2014   •   Site design by Argus DesignWorks