Farmfacts: Deferred grazing (1-40)

Last updated: September 2006

Summary: Deferred grazing is the practice of holding over pasture that has been considered surplus to animal requirements in spring. It is then grazed at a later date when a shortage of pasture occurs, this is usually in the summer/autumn.


  • Feed
    Matching feed supply to herd requirements using a low-cost method of pasture conservation.
  • Reduce farm costs
    Traditional hay/silage conservation systems account for about 18% of total farm operating expenditure.
  • Increase profitability
    Deferred grazing can be used either to reduce the amount of silage/hay made on the farm or as part of a nil conservation system. Nil conservation, including deferred grazing, was compared with a traditional conservation system on the Taranaki Agricultural Research Farm at 3.7 cows/ha. The nil conservation system produced similar milkfat, but more protein per hectare. The extra income and reduced costs resulted in an increase in profit of $360/ha.
  • Pasture renovation
    Deferred grazing can allow pasture reseeding; this results in significant increases in ryegrass population. No increase in other grasses, weeds, or clover component of the pasture should occur. Pastures which have reseeded produce an extra 15% in the year following deferring.
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