Grazing Land Management

It is estimated that nearly one-third of all farmland in the Culpeper District is pastureland (Virginia Agriculture Statistic Bulletin data). Pasture condition, yield and productivity are dependent on many factors during the growing season, one of the most important being available water in the soil. Overgrazing of pastures has many negative results including less plant cover on the land, greater soil compaction near the soil surface, suppressed forage yield and increased soil erosion and stormwater runoff, water lost that could have better supported regrowth of forages. It is well documented that forage productivity is improved by rotational grazing systems that aim to maximize forage production by keeping forage crops in their most productive stage of growth and not overutilizing or underutilizing their capability. It is this approach that also maximizes the forage stand’s ability to intercept stormwater runoff, filter pollutants and promote infiltration into the soil.

The District offers the following resources for a more in depth review of grazing systems. For more information on utilizing District or USDA programs to transition to a more productive forage management system contact:

Culpeper/Rappahannock: David Massie davidm@culpeperswcd.org or 540-825-8591

Ashleigh Cason ashleighc@culpeperswcd.org or 540-825-8591

Greene/Madison/Orange: Spencer Yager spencery@culpeperswcd.org or 540-672-1638 ext. 3

District wide: James Henshaw dundeejag@yahoo.com

USDA programs all counties in the Culpeper District: Rex Rexrode 540-825-4200 ext. 108

Additional Resources

Controlled Grazing of Virginia’s Pastures: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/418/418-012/418-012.html

Mob Grazing: http://www.angusbeefbulletin.com/ArticlePDF/MobGrazing%2003_10%20ABB.pdf

Making the Most of Tall Fescue in Virginia: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/418/418-050/418-050.html

Gaining Ground (a video by NRCS with no-till farmers): http://www.gaininggroundvirginia.org/

Extending Grazing and Reducing Stored Feed Needs (Auburn University publication)