Management Intensive Grazing

Is Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) for You? Converting A Pasture Into a MIG System

Matt Palmer, USU Extension Ag Agent, Sanpete County, Utah

Types of Grazing Systems
Continuous - one pasture with season long grazing
Rotational - 2-4 pastures with monthly rotations
Management Intensive Grazing (MIG) - 12 or more pastures with daily rotations

What are your grazing system preferences?

Continuous Grazing
Lower structural costs: 1)
Lower fencing costs and maintenance; 2) Simplified livestock watering system
Less labor
Lower production/acre; Pasture is often simultaneously over-graze and under-graze

Management intensive Grazing (MIG)
Higher Structural Costs: Both fencing and water
More labor
Higher production/acre; More even grazing across the pasture

Pilot Project:Develop a MIG Demonstration Project

Cow-calf producer
One year lease on a 35 acre sub-irrigated pasture (above right and right)
Pressure irrigation water lines
Existing perimeter fence in poor shape

Plan and Budget to develop five 7-acre paddocks
Fencing Needed: 16 gauge wire with 8” offset insulators on existing perimeter fence
Interior fences temporary electric fence: Polywire and step in posts; 3 rolls (1320’) with neck strap reels; 40’ Step in post spacing; 3 Joule electric fence charge; Spring wire gates
Water System: Pressurized irrigation system; Valve opener with a garden hose valve; Garden hose; Livestock water trough set next to poly wire fence
Animals - Cattle: 32 cow calf pair plus 13 yearlings -= 42 Animal Units

Planned Grazing Periods
June/July = 5 week grazing
July/August = 7 week rest
September = 2 week grazing
Total grazing days = 49
Cow days/acre = 59

Return on Investment:

  • If cut for meadow hay - one ton/acre * 35 acres * $70/acre = $2450 income
  • Equipment expense = $1650
  • Return = $800 or $22/acre

  • If grazed using MIG - grazing fee = $18/AUM X 42 AU X 1.63 Months of grazing = $1234
  • Electric fence supplies over 7 years = $172
  • Return = $1062 or $30/acre

More photos below show fence construction and components

The perimeter fence was in poor shape, one hot wire kept cattle off it.

Interior fence attached easily to perimeter fence

Spring loaded gate