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The Use and Performance of Management Intensive Rotational Grazing Among Wisconsin Dairy Farms in the 1990s
Research Reports No. 8, August 2000
by Marcia Ostrom and Douglas Jackson-Smith

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Over the last decade, growing numbers of Wisconsin livestock operations have employed management intensive rotational grazing (MIRG) systems as an alternative to conventional confinement farming systems. In contrast to traditional management practices where feed is mechanically harvested and transported to livestock kept in confinement, in MIRG systems the livestock obtain a substantial portion of their feed through the intensive use of improved pastures during the grazing season. Many MIRG operators attempt to boost the profitability of their operations through reducing overall capital investments in facilities and equipment and decreasing expenditures on a wide range of inputs. In addition to cost savings, grazing-based management systems are frequently credited with offering significant labor, lifestyle, herd health, and environmental advantages. The rising popularity of grazing-based management systems among livestock farmers in Wisconsin raises important questions for policy makers, government agencies, and public agricultural research and extension personnel.

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