Animal Industry Report

Extension Number

ASL R2984



Summary and Implications

Managed grazing in grasslands not currently grazed such as those enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program or used for recreational activities has the potential to improve plant community diversity and soil quality thus enhancing many grassland ecological services including wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and preserving water quality. Grazing in grasslands not currently grazed increases the available forage for grazing cattle to reduce the pressure on current pasturelands. However, introducing managed grazing into grasslands not currently grazed poses unique challenges including repairing or installing infrastructure, movement of cattle to new grazing areas, and developing agreements to ensure grazing management meets the goals of both the land owner and cattle producer. To determine the potential for integration of managed grazing into perennial grassland landscapes, a survey was made available to cattle producers and grassland owners throughout the Midwest. Results from 65 respondents throughout the Midwest indicate grassland owners and cattle producers recognize that grazing has potential to enhance the ecological value of grasslands; however, a majority of cattle producers (53%) feel grassland owners don’t want to allow grazing on their land. Of the grassland owners surveyed, 63% wanted to attract wildlife for hunting and 87% would allow short duration grazing to enhance wildlife habitat. If grazing was allowed on government contracted grasslands, 79% of cattle producers were willing to move cattle up to 10 miles for less than 45 days of grazing. Both grassland owners and cattle producers in the survey were most likely to install infrastructure when grazing contracts lasted at least 5 years. The results of this survey indicate both cattle producers and grassland owners are willing to graze grasslands not currently grazed; however, payments would be required by more than 70% of grassland owners to compensate for lost government payments or at a rate equal to current pasture rent.

Copyright Holder

Iowa State University