Grown Here at Home: Blacksburg farmers finding success using rotational grazing method

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 7:27 AM EST
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At Hoof Hearted Farm in Blacksburg, they use a method called rotational grazing, which farmers, Brandon Herndon and Gina Piscura say is a great way to not only care for their cattle, but the land as well.

“The animals move every few days to a new patch of grass. It gives them a high level of nutrition, and it makes it so you can have more animals on a smaller piece of property, too,” said Brandon.

Moving the cattle allows the land to rest

“It helps increase the soil quality so you actually can grow more grass later as well, too,” Brandon explained.

This is because more manure is being spread around. There’s less compacting of the soil, which allows water to more easily absorb into the ground -- minimizing the risk of drought. They also have a better relationship with the cattle because they’re interacting with them more.

“The animals are much easier to handle. They’re much more docile. They’re used to being around you,” Brandon explained.

He says rotational grazing has helped to simplify their farm. They’re not buying lots of equipment and they’re able to make their own hay. He says the key to rotational grazing is working smarter, not harder.

“One thing I would encourage is do a lot of your paddock setup on the weekend. We both have real jobs, too. We don’t do this full time. Then, it only takes 10 or 15 minutes a day to go out to your animals and open them up to the new paddock. They get fresh grass and then move the water and you’re done, and you have all your paddock set up for the week,” he said.

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