Tuesday, October 21, 2008

High impact MIG for pasture improvement

As I was moving my fences this morning, using up the last little bits of grass, I noticed an interesting green patch in one of the paddock areas we had moved out of about a week ago. It was a roughly 12' x 12' square. The grass looked lush and green when compared to the rough dry grass surrounding it. That's the power of hoof impact, manure, urine, and short time on location, in other words, high impact MIG. This past year I haven't made my paddocks small enough to really take advantage of this effect. It only happens where the shade house is set up in each paddock. That's where the high impact is happening. If I left them in for a longer period of time this would be a dead area. That's what you get with too much impact and manure. You see it under trees in pastures that have been grazed for a long time. The nutrients get trans-located to that one spot, and the hoof action destroys everything. Toxic. But when you do it for a short amount of time, the effect is magical. Next year I plan cut my paddock size in half and move more often. (We'll see how that plays out with scheduling everything.) If I can do it we will see some dramatic improvement in our pasture in a short amount of time.

High impact area


themanicgardener said...

Fascinating, Alan, and quite counter-intuitive.

I'm still not sure how you get MIG from manure, urine, and high impact, but oh well--

Daphne said...

Hmm Kate, maybe it is Manure, Impact, Grass?

Alan said...

Sorry about the grazer-speak.

MIG - Management Intensive Grazing.
A method of grazing management were the grazing area is subdivided into small paddocks containing enough feed for 3 to 5 days. The animals are moved often and the grass has more time to recover and grow. More productive than set grazing, but requiring a lot more intensive management.

Esther Montgomery said...

That is interesting.

Dairy areas in England used to have very small fields. Then hedges got ripped out to make them bigger and everyone complained about the impact this would have on wildlife - but it's the first time I have read about this other issue.

But if you have to keep moving the shade house as well as the cattle - how do you do that?


Barbee' said...

Someone once said to me that in life it is always a trade off between time and money. In this case, it is your time (and energy), as opposed to money buying hay and feed. Good luck with it. And, thanks for the interesting lesson in agriculture.


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