Farmers face an increasing need to change their grazing practises for the health and longevity of their land. There is often confusion surrounding the differences in high stock and holistic planned grazing–both change the way your animals feed, but can differ greatly from one another. Farmers should familiarise themselves with each, and always consider the bigger picture when planning what action to take.
High stock density grazing is the practise of grazing livestock in high-density, as the name implies. The method allows you to graze between 100,000-1,000,000 pounds of animals on the same area of land, where they will graze for a short time and be moved a few times a day.
Holistic planned grazing is a more complex approach, taking into account the needs of both livestock and soil. There is no limit to how and when animals graze, but you’re searching for a balance between soil nutrition and the needs of your animals.
The focus of high stock intensity grazing is the distributed effect grazing leaves on the soil. With a holistic planned approach, the focus is much broader, taking into account the entire area and its growing season, as well as the purpose of rendering crops and animals more productive.
Another key difference lies in density. The first approach will be denser in terms of how much cattle is grazed on a particular patch of land, demanding more management and effort in order to keep the animals in place. This can require larger investments of both time and money.
There’s no clear line of distinction between the two methods. Those who are dedicated to holistic planned grazing often find that high-stock grazing is a subset of their method. It’s important to view both approaches as viable tools towards managing your farm and your animals. They are not philosophies or lifestyles, but rather something that is more utilitarian in nature.