Grazing Systems and Pasture Management

Grazing Holstein cows

Grass-based livestock systems for meat and dairy production, raising free-range chickens and turkeys and pasturing hogs have become viable alternatives for U.S. farmers.


Grass Farming Publications

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Downloadable publications include: Nutrient Cycling in Pastures; Grazing Networks for Livestock Producers; Multispecies Grazing; and Rotational Grazing.

Terminology for Grazing Lands and Grazing Animals: Glossary

Purdue University. Agronomy Extension; Oregon State University.

Terms and definitions arranged by category.

Beef and Dairy Cattle

Social Implications of Management Intensive Rotational Grazing: An Annotated Bibliography

University of Wisconsin-Madison. Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

Comprehensive annotated bibliography (2004) of grazing literature that focuses on the economic and social implications of management intensive rotational grazing. Includes a listing of government, university and organizational Web sites.

Grazing Systems Planning Guide

University of Minnesota. Cooperative Extension Service; USDA. Natural Resources Conservation Service; Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

Detailed guide to soil and forage evaluation, livestock requirements, access to water, fencing and paddock design, pasture management and recordkeeping. Chapters are in PDF.

Stocker Enterprise Budgets for Grass-based Systems (PDF | 233 KB)

University of Wisconsin. Cooperative Extension Service.

Data provide an estimate of the profitability of running a stocker operation using beef or Holstein steers in a management-intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) system.

Energy-efficient Grass-based Meat and Veal Production and Marketing Manual (PDF | 672 KB)

Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship; New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Presents production and marketing information from the livestock farmers of the Meadow Raised Meats Association including basic skills required to market grass-based meat products and a Production Protocol developed by the MRMA. (Name and e-mail required for download)


Growing Your Range Poultry Business: An Entrepreneur's Toolbox (PDF | 473 KB)

National Center for Appropriate Technology. ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service; Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Information on developing and profiting from range poultry production through direct-marketing, building a processing plant and/or working cooperatively with other producers. A Heifer International Project.

Profitable Poultry: Raising Birds on Pasture

USDA. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Bulletin features farmer experiences plus the latest research in a guide to raising chickens and turkeys using pens, movable fencing and pastures.

American Pastured Poultry Producers Association

American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA).

Organizational "clearinghouse for innovations and refinements to the pastured poultry model."


Profitable Pork: Alternative Strategies for Hog Producers

USDA. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

Showcases examples of alternative ways to raise pork profitably including the use of deep-straw bedding, hoop structures and pasture-based production.

Hoop Structures for Livestock - Swine

Iowa State University. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

Information about hoop structures for swine. Includes full-text research reports pertaining to animal behavior and environment, manure management, health issues, societal issues and other systems.