Ken Scharabok said:At the moment my summer grazing area is producing far more forage than my cattle can consume. Therefore they have access to everything and are allow to just eat what they want, where they want. Later this summer when grass growth slows down I'll start running them through a series of four paddocks.
Ken S. in WC TN
This is kind of the wrong way to go about it - the livestock like fresh new growth, and will greatly overstress some areas in your pastures, while totally ignoring other areas. This leads to uneven harvesting, weed pressure, and stressed forages.
It would be better to graze 3 of your pastures in rotation, harvest 1 as hay, and later in the summer rotate all 4 when growth slows down. Or some such, to make the critters eat everything uniformly, and allow all areas time to regrow uniformly.
This makes grasses happy, and weeds uncomfortable.....
Idealy, pastures should be harvested every 28-30 days, and the cattle should be able to clean the pasture out in 3 days. This is a LOT of fencing to make 10 paddocks or so, and few of us can make it work this good. But the more individual pastures you have, and the faster you can rotate to a new one, the better. Keys to aim for are keeping off a paddock for 28 days or so, and letting the cattle clean up a paddock when they are on it - even if you have fewer paddocks.
It's nice to have a 'junk' paddock for miserable wet weather, and it's nice to be able to harvest surplus hay produced in springtime.