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Rotational Grazing

Dear Customers,

 At Full Circle Bison Ranch we employ “rotational grazing” techniques with our herd of bison.  This constitutes rotating the herd through 10 pastures separated by cross fences.  (The traditional method of continuous grazing is to have a single perimeter fence and allow the animals to access the entire ranch all the time.)

You might ask why we would go to the expense of cross fencing 10 pastures, installing 10 water troughs, and moving the bison every week?  In short our pastures yield at least 30% more grass when given a chance to rest and regrow as opposed to being continually grazed.  Rotational grazing also distributes the fertility (manure) more evenly across the land, while minimizing the erosion and compaction from their hooves.  If we are irrigating or get a heavy rain we can move the herd to pastures that are drier and well drained, preserving the wetter fields.

During the spring our grass is growing very quickly and half our fields are soft from rain.  We divide the herd into three groups on separate pastures.  The lighter yearling and two year old on the wettest fields, the heavy mother cows on the driest fields, and the bulls on the fields where they cant break the fence (to get to the cows!)

If this sounds complicated, factor in that each herd must have an empty field between it and the other herds.  It becomes a game of chess with the bison as the pawns, the pastures as the board, and the spring storms and rate of grass growth determining when to rotate the herds.

It keeps things interesting and keeps us busy until the grass slows down, the calves have been born, and the groups are reunited into one herd for the breeding season in August.

Thank you for your interest and your business.   

Sincerely,

 

Tobias Hatfield

Owner Full Circle Bison Ranch



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