When should we stop grazing our pasture?

A:
It is best to remove animals from the field for a few reasons. 
  1. When the field is so wet that the animals start compacting the soil and plugging holes in the sod.
  2. When the animals start grazing the plants too short. Most grasses should not be grazed below the 2 to 3 inch height. That is because they store energy for regrowth in that stubble height and they need some leaf area to catch the sunlight for more energy to grow. 
  3. Usually, a good 6-8 weeks before haying is a good rule of thumb for grazed pastures to regrow for haying. But, this depends on the soil conditions (pH and fertility level) and the growing conditions (warm, moist spring). We never know what weather we will have so you could stop grazing a good 8 - 10 weeks before you plan to hay. 

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