With the passage of time have created various types of production for the livestock , considering that this is one of the main means for feeding the inhabitants of a given region. One of these means of subsistence is known of grazing which is a mechanism that is based on the production of livestock of extensively.

What is grazing?

The grazing is a type of system subsistence through which may occur cattle so extensive . It is considered one of the main means of production in the areas most arid of the planet.

  • What does it consist of
  • Grazing characteristics
  • History
  • Types
  • Advantage
  • Disadvantages
  • Grazing in the world
  • Importance
  • Examples

What does it consist of

Grazing is a type of system that is based on livestock production so extensive mainly in places considered as aggregates. It is a process by which animals can be moved from one place to another and with which natural resources can be shared , aspects that are of vital importance in order to manage resources.


We can say that grazing is a technique by means of which there is direct consumption of the pasture by the cattle that are in the field. It is a simple and very economical means of converting the plant material of a place into products that are useful for humans and that also have an economic value .

Grazing characteristics

Among the main characteristics of grazing the following are mentioned:

  • It has the ability to adapt to different weather conditions .
  • It is a system of subsistence than a production system .
  • It needs a totally multidimensional approach that includes aspects related to food, the environment, the economic and social part of a certain population.
  • It can be practiced by herbivorous animals .
  • It makes it possible for livestock or animals to feed directly from the soil of the field .


The history of grazing begins in ancient times when men left nomadic life and became sedentary . Faced with this situation, they needed to find a way so that their animals could grow and in this way grazing arose . Little by little they settled in territories that were more fertile and with this, they managed to raise the animals better.

At present, grazing is practiced in many countries around the world, mainly in those areas considered as arid . It was fought for many years by the States because they saw this type of practice as a threat to the economies . However, at present, pastoralism is seen as a type of sustainable system and has gained much importance as it is one of the most used means by those communities that live in arid and mountainous areas.


The types of grazing that exist are mentioned below:

  • Continuous grazing : allows animals to have unlimited and uninterrupted access to a specific terrain during all or part of the grazing season. It is often referred to as the open house method as cattle have access to all fields.
  • Rotating : The rotary grazing system is developed by subdividing a large pasture into two or more small paddocks and grazing these paddocks occurs in a planned sequence. This provides rest periods for the plants while others are being grazed. Once all paddocks have been grazed, the sequence restarts with the first paddock that has been at rest for the longest time. It is a grazing medium that allows plants to renew themselves as well as energy reserves, providing maximum long-term production. In addition, the nutrients in the manure are distributed more evenly throughout the field.
  • In stripes : involves the use of a mobile electric fence to provide enough forage for a short period of time and then move the fence forward, providing a new forage allocation.
  • En mass : known as ultra high density involves the grazing of a large concentration of cattle in a small area for a short period. In this type of grazing the meadows are only grazed 2 to 3 times a year. Long periods of rest allow mature grazing fodder before allowing you to develop the root systems and create energy reserves .
  • Creeping : the younger animals have access to pasture for higher quality allowing them to graze the grass and highly nutritious supplement its mother ‘s milk. This supplemental forage will increase the earnings of the lactating calves and reduce the energy needs of the cows.
  • Voisin rotational grazing : this type seeks to satisfy both the needs of the animals and the pasture in order to obtain the best performance from both parties.
  • High-density grazing : This method is the most modern and was developed in South Africa. It allows working with 500 animals per hectare and changes of plots are made in order to stimulate the animals to consume a greater amount of forage based on competition .


Among the main advantages of grazing are the following:

  • Capture more rainfall on pastures so less runoff to nearby streams.
  • Helps to recycle nutrients and build healthy soil through growth of vegetation.
  • Reduces the amount of fertilizers required for growing feed on pastures.
  • Manure can be spread over larger areas, rather than concentrated near waterways and feedlots.
  • Reduction of sediment erosion by 87% as well as phosphorus runoff .
  • Increased levels of sequestration carbon and reduce the emissions of ammonia by 30%.
  • Good grazing management helps make the farm more productive .


Some of its disadvantages are:

  • Without proper management, it can present drawbacks for both animals and the environment .
  • Disadvantages of rotational grazing include the need to build more fences , the time required to move livestock, and the need for water and access to the shade of each paddock.
  • Some types of grazing may require large numbers of batches .
  • Any natural problem or overgrazing that occurs can damage grazing productivity.
  • The quality and productivity of the forage can vary considerably which can lead to the animals not consuming enough feed.
  • If given infection in a plant it may be that the rest of them are also infected and pastures can not be cured using pesticides .
  • You can give the appearance of toxin lolitrem B which affects cattle during the summer.

Grazing in the world

About 60% of the world’s pastures are covered by grazing systems . Distributed between the arid , semi-arid and sub-humid , humid and tropical zones of the highlands, they support some 360 ​​million cattle and more than 600 million sheep and goats . The grazing systems supply around the 9% of world production of beef and about the 30% of world production of meat sheep and goats .

Many people associate grazing animals with overgrazing , the degradation of the soil and deforestation and this is a problem for the environment worldwide. The environmental challenge is therefore to identify policies , institutions and technologies that enhance the positive effects and mitigate the negative effects of grazing. Environmental challenges, problems and options vary considerably depending on the climate and the capabilities of the land.


It therefore consists of a production system that is sustainable from an ecological point of view and that also contains a series of important aspects that are based on the conservation and recovery of the biodiversity of the land that is used for the activity. Proper grazing management is an important tool for the effective use of land resources.


Some examples of grazing are mentioned below:

  • Grazing for dairy cows.
  • For sheep.
  • For goats.

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