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A Summary of Livestock Grazing Systems Used on Rangelands in the Western United States and Canada
Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, The University of Arizona

Written by
Larry D. Howery, Assistant Rangeland Management Specialist
James E. Sprinkle, Assistant Area Extension Agent
James E. Bowns, Range Specialist


Continuous grazing - grazing a particular pasture or area the entire year, including the dormant season (see season-long grazing).

Deferment - a period of nongrazing during part of the growing season (see rest).

Grazing system - planned effort by rangeland managers to leave some grazing areas unused for at least part of the year.

Rest - distinguished from deferment in that nonuse occurs for 12 consecutive months rather than just part of the growing season (see deferment).

Rotation - scheduled movement of grazing animals from one pasture to another.

Season-long grazing - grazing a particular area or pasture for an entire growing season (see continuous grazing).


Specialized grazing systems were first conceptualized in the United States at the turn of the 20th century and became a major focus of range researchers and managers by the 1950’s (Holechek et al., 1998). In the Intermountain West, deferred-rotation received considerable attention during the 1950’s, followed by rest-rotation during the 1970’s. More recently, rangeland managers have used short duration grazing to more intensively control when and where domestic animals graze rangelands.

When properly applied, grazing systems are powerful tools that can help rangeland and livestock managers achieve management objectives related to range-land and livestock production (e.g., forage production, average daily gain), as well as those related to ecosystem structure (e.g., wildlife habitat) and function (e.g., erosion control, water quantity and quality). However, selection of the proper grazing system is contingent upon the uniqueness of the setting in which it is applied (e.g., topography, soils, vegetation types, climate, etc.).

The objectives of this article are to provide an overview of the major grazing systems that have been used on rangelands in the western U. S. and Canada, to summarize the conditions under which they may be applicable (Table 1), and to highlight examples from the southwestern U. S. when relevant. Our discussion is largely a synopsis of Holechek et al’s (1998) recent review of grazing systems (chapter 9), and of Vallentine’s (1990) discussion of the same topic (chapters 13 and 14).

Continuous and Season-long Grazing

Continuous or season-long grazing are technically not grazing systems per se because there is no attempt to leave a portion of the range ungrazed by livestock for at least part of the growing season (see glossary). Some have speculated that desirable plants, particularly grasses, will be grazed excessively under continuous or season-long grazing. However, research does not support this view when proper stocking is implemented. With continuous grazing, stocking rate must be very light during the growing season because adequate forage must be left to carry animals through the dormant season. Under light stocking, animals are allowed maximum dietary selectivity throughout the year. For example, cattle and sheep preferentially select forbs (i.e., broad-leaved plants) during certain times of the year, which can greatly reduce grazing pressure on grasses. Rotation systems that restrict livestock from part of the range during the growing season can waste much of the forb crop because some forb species complete their life cycle quickly and become unpalatable after maturation. Another advantage of continuous or season-long grazing over rotation systems is that livestock are not moved from one pasture to another. Moving livestock too frequently can reduce animal production (weight gains, calf crops, etc.).

Continuous or season-long grazing work best on flat, well-watered areas (i.e., watering points no more than 2 miles apart) where precipitation occurs as several light rains throughout the summer, and where most plants have some grazing value (e.g., the shortgrass prairie, northern mixed prairies of the Great Plains). Continuous or season-long grazing have also worked well in the California annual grasslands where annual plants need only to set seed each year to maintain themselves, in contrast to perennial grasses that store carbohydrates for use during dormancy, and for use during the initiation of growth when dormancy breaks.


Deferred-rotation grazing was first developed in 1895 and later implemented in the early 20th century by Arthur Sampson (the “father of range management”) in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. Sampson’s system involved dividing the range into 2 pastures with each pasture receiving deferment until seed set every other year. Several modifications of deferred-rotation have been used involving more than 2 pastures, however, its key feature is that each pasture periodically receives deferment (typically every 2 to 4 years, depending on the number of pastures).

According to Holechek et al. (1998), plant response for deferred-rotation grazing was superior to continuous or season-long grazing on Palouse bunchgrass ranges, mountain coniferous forest ranges, sagebrush bunch-grass ranges, and tallgrass prairie ranges. Animal performance, however, did not differ in studies comparing continuous, season-long, or deferred-rotation systems on Palouse bunchgrass (Skovlin et al., 1976) or coniferous mountain ranges (Holechek et al., 1987). In the tallgrass prairie, individual animal performance decreased with deferred-rotation compared to continuous grazing (Owensby et al., 1973), possibly due to lower forage quality (i.e., older, more mature forage) in the deferred pastures. However, grazing after seed set, when perennial grasses tend to be more tolerant to grazing, may allow higher stocking rates and compensate for lower gain per animal without damaging range-land resources.

Deferred-rotation has been used as a tool to address seasonal preferences for riparian plant species exhibited by livestock. Seasonal deferment (and hence, seasonal grazing) in certain wetland areas can help sustain a balance of riparian herbaceous and woody plants by alternating grazing and browsing pressure in ways that inhibit one life form from gaining a competitive advantage over the other. For example, spring or early summer deferment has been used to reduce livestock use of riparian herbaceous plants such as grasses, sedges, and rushes, while summer and fall deferment has been used to reduce livestock use of riparian shrubs and trees (Swanson, 1987; Elmore and Kauffman, 1994). Thus, deferred-rotation, as described here, draws on our knowledge of animal foraging behavior to exclude livestock from riparian areas during the season(s) in which they are most likely to prefer herbaceous or woody plants. Riparian plant species are often cited as critical structural components of wildlife habitat for both game and non-game species (e.g., nesting and hiding cover; Kauffman et al., 1982, Chaney et al., 1990), and as playing a functional role in capturing sediment and dissipating erosive energy in streams (Riparian Area Management, 1993).


The rest-rotation system was designed by Gus Hormay of the U. S. Forest Service and was first implemented in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the original system was designed to rotate grazing and rest periods among 5 pastures using 1 to 3 herds over a 5-year cycle (Hormay, 1970), other variations of rest-rotation have used 3 or 4 pastures in a 3 to 4 year cycle. Hence, under rest-rotation, 1 or 2 pastures are rested the entire year while the remaining pastures are grazed seasonally, depending on the number of pastures and herds. For example, 1 pasture in a 3-year, 3-pasture rest-rotation might be managed as follows during a 3-year cycle: 1) Graze the entire year or growing season, 2) Defer, then graze, and 3) Rest. This schedule rests about 1/3 of the range annually.

Rest-rotation has shown superiority over continuous and season-long grazing on mountain ranges where cattle may heavily use riparian areas under all grazing strategies (Platts and Nelson, 1989). Rest provides an opportunity for the vegetation around natural or developed water to recover and helps meet multiple use objectives (e.g., providing hiding cover for birds and mammals, leaving ungrazed areas for public viewing and enjoyment). Hence, rest-rotation provides many of the advantages for riparian habitats discussed under deferred-rotation. Additionally, rested pastures

provide forage for emergency use during severe drought years, and provide opportunities to implement relatively long-term rangeland improvement practices (e.g., burning, reseeding, brush control) during scheduled rest periods. However, a disadvantage of all grazing systems that periodically exclude livestock is that elk or other wild herbivores may graze “rested” pastures, negating some of the benefit of rest or deferment from livestock grazing (Halstead, 1998).

Other disadvantages cited for rest-rotation are reduced individual animal performance due to forced animal movements from pasture to pasture, and increased stocking density in grazed pastures, which can reduce dietary selectivity (Gray et al., 1982). However, this criticism may emanate more from failure to properly adjust stocking rates to compensate for resting 20 to 40% of the total grazing area each year, rather than a definite failure of rest-rotation. For example, research on mountainous range in northeastern Oregon showed that cattle weight gains per hectare or per animal did not differ among rest-rotation, deferred-rotation, and season-long grazing systems when utilization averaged about 35% for each system over a 5-year period (Holechek et al., 1987). The point to remember is that the benefits of a full year of rest can be nullified if previously rested pastures are overgrazed, particularly in arid regions where frequent drought conditions can impede rangeland recovery (Cook and Child, 1971; Trlica et al., 1977).

Santa Rita

The Santa Rita grazing system is basically a 1-herd, 3-pasture, 3-year, rest-rotation system that was modified for midsummer rainfall and concomitant forage production patterns that typically occur in the hot semidesert grasslands in southeastern Arizona (Martin and Severson, 1988). A three-year rotational schedule for 1 pasture is as follows: 1) Rest 12 months (November to October), 2) Graze 4 months (November to February), 3) Rest 12 months (March to February), and 4) Graze 8 months (March to October). Each pasture receives rest during both early spring and “summer-monsoon” growing periods for 2 out of every 3 years, but each year’s forage production is also grazed (first year’s growth is grazed in winter). A full year of rest before spring grazing allows residual vegetation to accumulate which helps protect new spring forage from heavy grazing. Target utilization levels in grazed pastures are 30-40%. Martin and Severson (1988) concluded that the Santa Rita system promoted recovery of ranges in poor condition, but had little advantage over moderate continuous grazing on ranges in good condition.

Seasonal Suitability

A common practice of seasonal suitability grazing systems is to partition and manage diverse vegetation types that differ due to elevation, ecological site, ecological condition, or precipitation, and to move animals based on seasonal forage production in the partitioned vegetation types (Holechek and Herbel, 1982). Disparate vegetation types are typically fenced, but livestock movements can also be controlled by turning on (or off) watering points, a technique most commonly employed in the Southwestern U. S.

In Southwestern deserts, seasonal suitability systems use creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and mesquite (Prosopis spp.) shrublands during winter and early spring, while tobosa grass (Hilaria mutica) and alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides) ranges are used during summer (or during spring with adequate moisture). Although creosote bush and mesquite dominated shrublands typically have little perennial grass un-derstory, they may contain nutritious plants like 4-wing saltbush (Atriplex canescens), winterfat (Ceratoides lanata), and cool-season annual forbs, which are preferred by livestock when perennial grasses are dormant (Holechek and Herbel, 1982). Tobosa grass and alkali sacaton are comparatively less nutritious during dormancy, and more efficiently utilized by livestock when they are actively growing. Pastures dominated by Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana), a warm-season grass introduced from South Africa, can also be used in this system to relieve summer and early fall grazing pressure on native perennial grasses.

Seeded introduced grasses may be an important component of other seasonal suitability systems because of their ability to provide forage both earlier and later than native range. For example, rotating livestock through native range in summer, crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) pastures in spring, and Russian wildrye (Elymus junceus) pastures in the fall more than doubled grazing capacity in Alberta (Smoliak, 1968). Seasonal suitability has also been used on mountain ranges in the northwestern U. S. where grassland (south-facing slopes), forest (north-facing slopes), and meadow (riparian) vegetation types provide late spring/early summer use, late summer/early fall use, and fall grazing, respectively (Holechek and Herbel, 1982). In Utah, seasonal suitability has been practiced where desert (winter use), foothill (spring use), and mountain ranges (summer use) are managed as separate, seasonal grazing units (Cook and Harris, 1968).

Best Pasture

Because summer rainfall in the Southwest U. S. usually comes in the form of intense but isolated thunderstorms, summer moisture patterns are typically spotty and unpredictable. It is not uncommon for areas of a ranch separated by only a few miles to vary greatly in the amount of precipitation received from a storm event. The best pasture grazing system, as originally proposed by Valentine (1967), attempts to match cattle movements with irregular precipitation patterns and associated forage production without regard to a rigid rotation schedule. For instance, when a local rain event causes a flush of annual forbs in a particular pasture, cattle are moved to that pasture, and then moved back to the previous pasture once acceptable utilization levels of the ephemeral forb resource have been achieved. On the other hand, if a pasture that is tentatively scheduled for grazing continues to miss localized rainstorms while another pasture continues to receive moisture, the rotation schedule for the two pastures could be flip-flopped. Because livestock movements are not rigidly timed to a particular timetable, the best pasture system requires that land managers command a mindset of high flexibility.

The best pasture system may also be timed to match seasonal forage quality changes across ecological sites, and thus, embraces some elements of the seasonal suitability system. For example, pastures containing black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) as the primary forage species may be deferred until the dormant season when it is higher in protein compared to pastures dominated by blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) or hairy grama (Bouteloua hirsuta). Because black grama is relatively less resistant to grazing than many other perennial grasses, winter grazing has less impact on this species than use during the growing season. This approach works best when some of the pastures in the “rotation” contain winter annuals and palatable shrubs.

As with the seasonal suitability grazing system, the best pasture system may involve turning on (or shutting off) watering points in grazed (deferred or rested) pastures. Cattle learned within a year to follow active watering points on a 3,160-acre ranch in southeastern Arizona (Martin and Ward, 1970). Because localized heavy grazing around watering points was controlled during Martin and Ward’s 8-year study, perennial grass forage production nearly doubled with the best pasture system compared to continuous grazing.

Short Duration

Short duration grazing differs from other specialized systems in that a grazing area is typically divided into several small pastures (also called paddocks or cells), each of which may receive more than one period of non-use and grazing during a single growing season. The number of nonuse and grazing periods depends on the rate and amount of forage produced within each pasture. Short duration grazing commonly uses 5 to 12 pasture units in which there are grazing periods lasting from 3-14 days. Pasture rotations may be conducted more frequently during periods of rapid growth and less frequently during periods of slower growth. A grazing period is followed by a variable nongrazing period of up to 60 days to allow for forage regrowth. The actual duration of each pasture’s nongrazing period depends on growing conditions.

Proponents of short duration grazing maintain this system benefits rangeland resources and domestic livestock production in several ways when properly implemented, including: improved soil water infiltration and increased mineral cycling due to animal impact (e.g., “hoof action”), increased photosynthesis that provides longer periods of available leafy forage to livestock, improved animal distribution and plant utilization, reduced percentage of ungrazed “wolf” plants, lower labor costs, better individual animal performance, and improved rangeland condition. The most attractive contention of short duration grazing to livestock producers is that higher stocking rates and stock densities can be used because of the “shorter duration” of grazing and more intensive management.

Rangeland research indicates that managers should carefully consider several factors before investing in a short duration grazing system, particularly in arid regions (see Holechek et al., 1998, 2000, for recent reviews of short duration grazing research). Arid areas typically have short growing seasons (less than 60 days) due to low precipitation levels, cold weather, or both; this minimizes the positive aspects of repeated periods of heavy defoliation followed by nonuse, especially when inadequate growing conditions (e.g., drought) can limit regrowth potential of heavily grazed plants. Concentrating a large number of animals in smaller pastures that have recently received high intensity storms can cause soil compaction and decrease infiltration rates. Increased trail density around water has been problematic in pastures that have been partitioned around a central watering point. Short duration grazing usually calls for extra labor for herding and large amounts of fencing to partition a large grazing area into smaller grazing areas because it is more costly to fence arid rangelands (less forage/unit area = more fence needed) than more productive areas (more forage/unit area = less fence needed). Frequent pasture rotations can take a toll on animal production measures and care must be taken to prevent mother-dam separations during livestock movements. Finally, there is simply less room for error in arid regions to decide when animals should be moved or destocked; failure to move animals at the correct time or to destock during drought can cause long-term damage to desert grasses.

Holechek et al. (1998) asserted that short duration grazing works best on flat humid areas that have extended growing seasons (at least 3 months), greater than 20 inches of average annual precipitation, and an average annual forage production of greater than 2000 lbs/acre. However, the same authors identified 2 cases where short duration grazing might be successfully used in arid areas: 1) in flat, low-lying areas with deep, productive soils that collect water runoff from less productive upland areas, and 2) on exotic grass seedings (e.g., Lehmann lovegrass, crested wheatgrass) where grazing resistance and capacity may be higher than native rangeland.

Some Final Thoughts on Grazing Systems

  • There is an infinite combination of climates, soils, topography, and vegetation types that occur across the western U. S. and Canada, which makes choosing the “correct” grazing system a challenge. No grazing system will work everywhere, or, as Dr. William Krueger from Oregon State University puts it, “every grazing system will fail somewhere.” The system you choose must be tailor-made to your unique situation (Table 1).
  • Implementing a grazing system does not eliminate the need to heed basic principles of grazing management (stocking rates, season of use, frequency of use, kind or mix of animals, animal selectivity, etc.).
  • Grazing systems require greater, rather than less management input, compared to continuous or season-long grazing. Increased attention to range and livestock management (see next point) may often be a primary reason for the success of a particular grazing system.
  • Animal distribution tools such as riding (Budd, 1999), proper placement of nutrient blocks (Martin and Ward, 1973), selective culling based on animal behavior characteristics (Howery et al., 1996, 1998), range improvements (burning, reseeding, water developments), and control of access to watering locations (Martin and Ward, 1970) should be implemented in ways that complement the intended management objectives of grazing systems.
  • Flexibility is the hallmark of successful range management in arid regions. Strict adherence to animal numbers and livestock movement dates without regard to vagaries in precipitation andforage production can be counterproductive to both rangeland and livestock production. Adjust stocking rates and rotation dates so that livestock numbers are in balance with forage supply (Howery, 1999).
  • Rangeland monitoring is critical to document both successes and failures of grazing systems and other management activities (Smith and Ruyle, 1997). Rangelands are extremely variable in the kind and amount of vegetation they are capable of producing. This variability is apparent across the land (space) and across the years (time) as anyone who has spent time on a ranch knows. Monitoring techniques are available to help you determine how much variability you can expect on your ranch across both space and time. Monitoring data are really the “proof of the pudding” as to whether your grazing system and management practices are accomplishing your goals and objectives (Smith and Ruyle, 1997).
  • Evaluate a new grazing system over a period of 6-12 years so that several weather cycles can be evaluated (Martin, 1978). This prevents erroneously assigning success or failure to a new grazing system when abnormally high or low precipitation years may be the primary cause.

Literature Cited

Budd, B. 1999. Livestock, wildlife, plants and landscapes: Putting it all together (Lessons from Red Canyon Ranch). Pp. 137-142 In K. Launchbaugh, K. Sanders, and J. Mosley. Grazing Behavior of Livestock and Wildlife Symposium. Moscow, ID.

Chaney, E., W. Elmore, and W. S. Platts. 1990. Livestock grazing on western riparian areas. Northwest Resource Information Center, Inc., for U. S. EPA. Eagle, ID.

Cook, C. W., and L. E. Harris. 1968. Nutritive value of seasonal ranges. Utah Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull. 472. Cook, C. W., and R. D. Child. 1971. Recovery of desert plains in various stages of vigor. J. Range Manage. 24:339-343.

Elmore, W., and B. Kauffman. 1994. Riparian and watershed systems:degradation and resoration.
Pp. 212-231 In M. Vavra, W. A. Laycock, and R. D. Pieper. Ecological implications of livestock herbivory in the West. Soc. Range Manage. Denver, CO.

Gray, J. R., C. Steiger, Jr., and J. Fowler. 1982. Characteristics of grazing systems. N. Mex. Agric. Expt. Sta. Res. Rep. 467. 16pp.

Halstead, L. E. 1998. Monitoring elk and cattle forage utilization under a specialized grazing system in Arizona. M. S. Thesis, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

Holechek, J. L., and C. H. Herbel. 1982. Seasonal suitability grazing in the Western United States. Rangelands 6:252-255.

Holechek, J. L., T. J. Berry, and M. Vavra. 1987. Grazing system influences on cattle diet and performance on mountain range. J. Range Manage. 40:55-60.

Holechek, J. L., R. D. Pieper, and C. H. Herbel. 1998. Range management principles and practices. 3rd edition. Prentice Hall. 542pp.

Holechek, J. L., H. Gomes, F. Molinar, D. Galt, and R.Valdez. 2000. Short duration grazing: the facts in 1999. Rangelands 22:18-22.

Hormay, A. L. 1970. Principles of rest-rotation grazing and multiple use land management. USDA, Forest Serv. Training Text 4. 26pp. Howery, L. D. 1999. Rangeland management before, during, and after drought. Arizona Cooperative Extension Bulletin AZ1136.

Howery, L. D., F. D. Provenza, R. E. Banner, and C. B. Scott. 1996. Differences in home range and habitat use among individuals in a cattle herd. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 49:305-320.

Howery, L. D., F. D. Provenza, R. E. Banner, and C. B. Scott. 1998. Social and environmental factors influence cattle distribution on rangeland. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 55:231-244.

Kauffman, J. B., W. C. Krueger, and M. Vavra. 1982. Impacts of a late season scheme on nongame wildlife in Wallowa Mountain riparian ecosystems. Pp. 208-218 in Wildlife-livestock relationships symposium: Proceedings 10. University of Idaho Forest, Wildlife, and Range Experiment Station. Moscow, ID

Martin, C. R. 1978. Grazing systems – What can they accomplish? Rangeman’s J. 5:14-16.

Martin, S. C., and D. E. Ward. 1970. Rotating access to water to improve semi-desert cattle range near water. J. Range Manage. 23:22-26.

Martin, S. C., and D. E. Ward. 1973. Salt and meal-salt help distribute cattle use on semidesert range. J. Range Manage. 26:94-97.

Martin, S. C., and K. E. Severson. 1988. Vegetation response to the Santa Rita grazing system. J. Range Manage. 41:291-296.

Owensby, C. E., E. F. Smith, and K. L. Anderson. 1973. Deferred-rotation grazing with steers in the Kansas Flint Hills. J. Range Manage. 26:393-39.

Platts, W. S., and R. L. Nelson. 1989. Characteristics of riparian plant communities with respect to livestock grazing. Pp. 73-81 In Gresswell, R. E. (Ed.), Practical approaches to riparian resource management, May 8-11, 1989, Billings, MT. USDI, Bureau of Land Management.

Riparian Area Management: Process for assessing proper functioning condition. 1993. TR 1737-9. USDI-BLM. 51 pp.

Skovlin, J. M., R. W. Harris, G. S. Strickler, and G. A. Garrison. 1976. Effects of cattle grazing methods on ponderosa pine-bunchgrass range in the Pacific Northwest. USDA, Tech. Bull. 1531.

Smith, E. L., and G. B. Ruyle. 1997. Considerations when monitoring rangeland vegetation. Pp. 1-6 In G. B. Ruyle (Ed.), Some methods for monitoring rangelands. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Report 9043.

Smoliak, S. 1968. Grazing studies on native range, crested wheatgrass, and Russian wildrye pastures. J. Range Manage. 21:147-150.

Swanson. S. 1987. Riparian pastures. Nevada cooperative extension fact sheet 87-53. Univ. of Nev., Reno.

Trlica, M. J., M. Buwai, and J. W. Menke. 1977. Effects of rest following defoliations on the recovery of several range species. J. Range Manage. 30:21-27. Valentine, K. A. 1967. Seasonal suitability, a grazing system for ranges of diverse vegetation types and condition classes. J. Range Manage. 20:395-397. Vallentine, J. F. 1990. Grazing management. Academic Press, Inc. San Diego. 533pp.

Table 1. Distinguishing features of several grazing systems used in the western United States and Canada, and situations where they may be applicable (see text for details).
Type of grazing system
Distinguishing features
May be applicable when you have…
Continuous or Season-long Continuously graze an area the entire year (continuous), or the entire growing season (season-long). These are not grazing systems per se (see text). ...flat, well-watered rangeland, where most plants have similar grazing value, with a uniform precipitation pattern that encourages regrowth. ...also, may be applicable in some areas of the California annual grasslands.
Deferred-rotation Periodically defers each pasture in the rotation. Animals are rotated through the other pastures on a seasonal basis. ...distribution problems where animals habitually overuse "convenience areas"; (e.g., riparian areas), or where there are multiple use objectives.
Rest-rotation Periodically rests each pasture in the rotation for 12-months. Animals are rotated through the other pastures on a seasonal basis. ...generally, same criteria as deferred-rotation.
Santa Rita Modification of the rest-rotation system where each pasture receives rest during both the early spring and “summer-monsoon” growing periods 2 out of every 3 years. ...semidesert grassland where forage production is irregular and heavily influenced by "summer monsoons" and winter precipitation.
Seasonal suitability Diverse vegetation types are partitioned and grazing rotation is managed based on seasonal changes in forage production. ...diverse vegetation types that can be partitioned and managed as separate units based on seasonal differences in plant phenology, forage quantity, and forage quality.
Best pasture Matches cattle movements to vagaries of forage production due to irregular precipitation patterns or disparate range (ecological) sites. ...irregular forage production due to spotty precipitation patterns, or grazing areas that require special management due to species differences in forage production and/or resistance to grazing.
Short duration

Frequently rotates a single cattle herd through multiple, smaller pastures allowing for relatively brief periods of rest in previously grazed pastures. Use levels are typically heavy due to increased stocking rates and stock densities. ...generally, the same criteria as for continuous and season-long (but see text). This system typically requires more capital investment and labor than other grazing systems.


This article was inspired by a presentation made by Dr. Bowns at the Arizona/Utah Range Livestock Workshop held in St. George and Kanab Utah, April 9-10, 1996. Dr. Bowns’ presentation was entitled, “Animal Response to Grazing Systems”. We acknowledge Thomas DeLiberto, Robin Grumbles, Kim McReynolds, and George Ruyle for reviewing earlier drafts of this manuscript.

The University of Arizona is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Any products, services, or organizations that are mentioned, shown, or indirectly implied in this publication do not imply endorsement by the University of Arizona.
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Published September 2000
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