How to develop your own farm
Back to Pasture
Steps to develop your rotational stocking system
Consult with local agriculture extension educator, NRCS advisors, and other farmers for help and innovative ideas.
- Examine aerial photographs, soil maps, and property maps to help determine the number, size, and location of the paddocks.
- Determine what your water sources are and match the watering system to the type and number of animals. Make sure that animals do not have to travel more than 800 ft. to a water source, especially during the summer months.
- Base paddock size and location on soil type, existing fences, physical boundaries, existing forages, watering system, and shade access (if needed).
- Decide if the existing forages are worth improving or if establishing new forages would be more feasible.
- Choose forages that fit the topography.
Example: Plant alfalfa on well drained soils and reed canarygrass on poorly drained soils.
- Price different perimeter fencing options and then utilize the one that best fits your finances and livestock enterprise.
- Choose interior fences. Temporary fences are often recommended because it makes mechanical harvesting is easier and it allows you to change paddocks' size to meet weather conditions, livestock numbers, etc.
- Before installing fence make sure to include laneways. Your lane requirements will depend on your livestock enterprise, and how often you will need to use it. Remember to position your paddock entrances so that the animals have a direct route into the paddock.
- Make sure to allow for changes you may want to make in the future to increase herd size, paddock numbers, change watering system, etc.
- Finally, match the number of animals to the number of paddocks and available forages. The stocking rate will vary from year to year. Learn how to do this by trying these stocking rate questions using the grazing stick.