Grazing Management: Introducing Livestock to Pasture

Pub 19: Pasture Production > Chapter 4: Grazing Management > Introducing Livestock to Pasture


Excerpt from Publication 19, Pasture Production, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Introducing Livestock to Pastures
  2. Other Grazing Management Recommendations
  3. Related Links

Introducing Livestock to Pasture

A gradual conversion to pasture is best.

  • Start early.

    Spring pasture growth is quick. Animals can go on pasture when the forage is 7 cm tall, provided the fields are dry enough to support the animals and the animals are going to be removed when the forage is 3 cm tall.

    Practice bloat control management if pastures have a high content of bloat causing legumes.

  • Start cows with 2–3 hours of grazing per day.

    Gradually increase the time on pasture. This will help the animals adapt to grazing, and the rumen microbe population adapt to the fresh pasture forage.

  • Take 2–3 weeks... make the conversion if the pasture is supplying all or most of the forage component of the diet.

    Adjust rations fed in the barn by gradually feeding less stored forage prior to pasturing.


Related Links

... on forages and pastures, visit Forages and Pastures (OMAFRA)
... on weed control, order Publication 75 Guide to Weed Control
... on agronomy for field crops, order Pub. 811 Agronomy Guide for Field Crops: Chapter 3 Forages
... on field crop protection, order Publication 812, Field Crop Protection Guide
... on livestock, visit Livestock (OMAFRA)


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 February 2000
Last Reviewed: 15 July 2004