This is part two in a series of posts on Grazing Management Styles. Please read part one first.
Now that you have an understanding of what MiG grazing is, which I covered in part one, I’d like to talk about Mob Grazing.
Mob grazing is a term that a lot of people use incorrectly. I guess it depends on your opinion of what Mob grazing is. I’ll tell you mine.
Mob grazing is a style of grazing management in which all of the different classes of animals (cows, calves, steers, bulls, beeves, yearlings, etc) are grouped into one herd. This makes managing the cattle very easy, or challenging depending on a number of factors. Mob grazing is not synonymous with high density livestock grazing. However, most Mob graziers will graze their livestock at higher densities. Some people may argue that the two are one in the same, I think they are different. For example you could have a 5,000 acre ranch with 4 different herds on it. If you combine all of those herds, you would have a “Mob.” This doesn’t mean that you are suddenly high density grazing, you just have a large herd, which we call “the Mob.”
Since 90% of the cow herds in the United States are under 100 head of cows, Mob grazing would be the ideal management style for many people. Yes, you can Mob graze goats, sheep, pigs or chickens! You can move the herd easily and the time you spend moving them is time well spent.
I personally love the Mob grazing style of management. Greg Judy uses this type of management as well. Moving multiple herds, multiple times a day can be an extremely time consuming job, and the larger your property the more time consuming it is. It could take you all day. This is not my idea of fun, but if you like doing that and it makes you happy, keep doing it. Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of Mob grazing.
The advantages of Mob grazing are:
- Reduced time spent on livestock management (moving cattle to new grass or feeding)
- Increased animal impact and density
- Increased recovery time for your grass
- More time can be spent observing the health and performance of your livestock when they are in one herd because you aren’t rushing around the farm/ranch
- Your livestock will graze more aggressively when in a Mob, increasing forage utilization
- Nature doesn’t separate yearlings, first calf heifers, second calf heifers, weaned calves and bulls, why should you? However, you should probably separate your bulls to have a short breeding season
The disadvantages of Mob grazing are:
- Grouping all classes of animals together might be a small issue because different classes of animals have different nutritional requirements throughout the year
- If you give your animals a good selection of high quality forage I don’t think you’ll have any problems. As I’ve said, nature doesn’t separate animals classes, why should you?
- Working a Mob in a corral for branding, vaccinations, tagging, and shipping cattle is more challenging than brining in the herd of heifers, bulls or weaners (weaned calves)
- Good stockmanship(Bud Williams style) can easily overcome this challenge
- A single Mob might have a challenging time utilizing the amount of grass you grow on your property. The Mob might not be able to move across the property fast enough, leaving some forage to become rank and too mature
Well there you have it folks. Mob grazing defined. Join me next time for part three as I talk about High Density Grazing.