According to rangeland and pasture specialists, there are four basic types of grazing systems: continuous grazing, deferred rotational grazing, rest rotational grazing, and management-intensive grazing.
Grazing involves a number of variables, including: carrying capacity of the land, type and distribution of the livestock, water distribution, and number of pastures. A combination of both proper grazing techniques and grassland management will improve harvest efficiency and lower production costs.
In order to make management decisions that will support your overall objectives, the first step is to identify what resources are currently available to help you reach those objectives, and what problems may need to be addressed.
While native grasslands contribute greatly to the integrity of the overall grassland community in South Dakota, the use of introduced grasses has proven a popular alternative for some producers. Typically, introduced grasses and forbs such as various bromegrasses, timothy, orchardgrass, ryes, alfalfas, and clovers, are managed as hay and forage crops.
Grasses are often divided into two groups based on their season of growth. Cool season grasses grow in the early part of the growing season (spring and early summer), while warm season grasses grow later in the season (early summer to late summer).
Native grassland species (grasses, forbs, legumes and some shrubs) are a vital part of South Dakota's livestock industry. Native species tend to be well adapted to the soils and climate of the specific area in which they grow, and are typically less susceptible to disease, pests, drought and other ailments that can sometimes affect introduced or tame planted species.
Native grasslands are grasslands that have never been farmed. In a perfect world native grasslands would support the full suite of native species including vegetation, mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and soil biota.
At a recent meeting of the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, Ryan Brunner Commissioner of State School and Public Lands, provided excellent information for those interested in understanding more about grazing and hunting on South Dakota School and Public Lands.
Traditional methods for grazing livestock have been in place for generations. As "tried and true" methods continue to work, new technologies and resources have become available that help maximize the health of the resources while maintaining overall productivity.
Grasslands, whether in the form of pastureland, rangeland, or various conservation program or habitat lands are important ecosystems that provide a variety of goods and services.