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"Zero Grazing" better Than Rotational
Rotational grazing has been the hottest buzz word in livestock in recent years. But some British farmers are moving beyond that to what they call "zero grazing", according the magazine Farmer's Weekly.
In a zero grazing operation, cattle are kept in feedlots near hayfields, and fresh forage is cut each day to bring to the animals. With no grazing on pastures, forage yields go up and the grass or alfalfa recovers faster.
One proponent of zero grazing is Edward Whalley, a farmer-manufacturer near Cheshire, England. He has just introduced a new mower-feedbunk combination that makes it easy to cut and feed fresh forage on a daily basis.
Whalley, who milks 300 dairy cows, de-signed a new mobile feed bunk that pulls on a tandem hitch alongside his special-designed twin drum mower. The mower blows long, unchopped grass straight into the elevated bunker which is then pulled to the feeding site and unhitched.
The success of the system hinges on the ability of the mower to provide long, unchopped material. Unlike chopped grass, this undamaged forage stays fresher longer. "Chopped grass starts to heat up within 24 hours," notes Whalley, who designed the bunker so cattle can pull out the long-stemmed grass from both sides.
Whalley says many farmers have become convinced zero grazing is the way to get the most production out of hay fields but the machinery available up to this point has made it a labor-intensive proposition. Using his new system, he says he can mow and haul the grass needed for one day in a shorter time than it would take to move cattle between fields and set up temporary fences. What's more, since he switched to zero grazing, milk production has gone up.
He uses two mobile bunkers to feed his 300-cow herd.
The twin drum mower and mobile bunker are on market in England but no importer has been established for North America.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ed-ward Whalley, Cotton Abbots, Waverton, Chester, England. (Photo and story excerpted from Farmer's Weekly)

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #4