If humans had never touched the land, how would the cows behave? They would stay in herds. Together, they would graze an area, and then move on to a new area. They would not eat today in the place where they pooped yesterday. Birds would then come along and scratch through their manure, not only for their own sustenance, but also making that manure more readily available to nourish the soil. This is the model that we follow at Liberty Hill Farm.
The cows are put in smaller paddocks. We are able to do this by utilizing temporary electric fence and pigtail posts. Each of the larger paddocks contain a waterer. We use a wagon-wheel system to the waterer – so that we didn’t have to install any new watering systems.
We’ve timed ourselves, and making a new fence generally takes us less than 10 minutes. We then roll up the old, and the cows move without driving them. They are used to it, they know the drill. As a matter of fact, we can have our teenage daughter go out there and let them into the new paddock, and all runs smoothly. This is called management intensive grazing. Because of this one change of practice, we are able to graze our cows on grass longer in the winter, and we can put them on grass sooner in the spring. This has allowed us to use drastically less hay in our west central Missouri winters.