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Feeding Cattle without the Feedlot

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131596426,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Jason Gross, Chris G Henry
Keywords:   Manure Management Feedlot Cross Fence Forage Management Grazing.

Abstract. Forage-based grazing is an alternative to the conventional feedlot production system. However, for this to be successfully adopted, alternative to the conventional feedlot production system must be developed and have comparable profitability. This paper discusses a device has been developed by UNL Extension that adapts a center pivot irrigation system into a moveable and portable fence by placing the fence on the center pivot structure. Livestock producers can move anywhere from several hundred to several thousand feet of fence by simply moving the center pivot (while not irrigating). Swath grazing, forage grazing, or crop residue grazing can be better controlled for the animals with this device. Essentially the approach involves moving the animals to the feed rather than bringing the feed to the animals. Advancing a cross fence periodically not improves the grazing efficiency, but it encourages a natural spread of manure and gives the producer more control of remaining crop residue, a necessary requirement to maintain pasture status and avoid the EPA Animal Feeding Operation designation. The device was tested on working farms over a two year period and improved profitability and minimized environmental impact compared to the operator’s previous practices.

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