WHAT IS GRAZING ABILITY?
What is “grazing ability,” and how can our cows obtain it? More interestingly–is it hereditary?
In his book Grass Productivity, which Allan Savory calls “the best basic pasture management book available” Andre Voisin discusses grazing ability, which he defines as “the time spent in grazing.” The more time a cow spends grazing, according to Voisin, the more grass she is capable of harvesting, and, usually, the more milk she will yield. Voisin cites a study done at the Ruakara Animal Research Station in New Zealand, which showed that “the time in which an animal devotes to grazing is a distinctly hereditary characteristic.”
Voisin also states, “we must select bulls which procreate cows with the highest grazing qualities: that is, capable of harvesting very large quantities of grass while, of course, possessing the best possible milking qualities.” This idea, Voisin emphasizes, “is the more important now that artificial insemination is multiplying the defects or qualities transmitted by a bull.” According to Voisin, then, as pasture managers with cattle as our main pasture management tool, it is “essential” for us “to select, above all, cows capable of utilizing efficiently the grass on which they graze.”
It is this efficiency which is most important to the grazing dairy, and, by extension, to the selection of grazing dairy bulls. The way cattle are raised is of utmost importance in the selection process. Take away the crutches and quick fixes of modern feed, supplements, chemicals and technology and you will soon find out what cows are made of. If they are not given the chance to fail, you will never find out which ones have the strength to succeed.
HOW MUCH HAVE THINGS REALLY CHANGED IN THE LAST 60 YEARS?
ABOVE: American Jersey ad from the 1950’s
HOLT CREEK JERSEYS ARE SELECTED FOR FUNCTIONAL EFFICIENCY AND PROFIT ON PASTURE:
- NO GRAIN FEEDING: 100% Pasture and Forage-Fed
- NO EXPENSIVE SUPPLEMENTS: We use only minimal inputs to give cows the basic nutrition needed for health, production, and reproduction.
- NO DRUGS OR HORMONES—We are Certified Organic and select for performance under Organic Management
- NO CONFINEMENT OR HOUSING—Cattle are Wintered Outdoors and kept on Pasture in All Seasons
- NO EXCUSES—Poor Performing Animals are culled and are not allowed to influence the herd’s genetics.
HOLT CREEK JERSEYS TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO!