What Is Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing?
Here at Keller Crafted Meats, we are committed to raising our meat the right way. There is a lot that goes into raising meat humanely in a way that is healthy, both for the animal and the consumer. When talking about grass fed beef, you also have to consider the environment, as grazing can have real effects on the land. Here, we would like to go over a common grazing practice that helps protect the land animals graze on. It is called managed intensive rotational grazing, or MIRG.
What Is It?
MIRG is a system wherein animals are moved methodically from one area of grazing to another in order to maximize forage growth, both in quantity and quality. If animals are left to feed on an area for too long, they will overgraze it until vegetation is completely removed. Even if the land is left to grow after, the net amount of forage growth is lessened due to the amount of energy plants need to grow from seedlings.
How It Works
There is a lot more that goes into managed intensive rotational grazing than just moving animals around to feed. Both the size of the heard grazing and the size of the paddock being grazed on have to be taken into account when managing movement schedules in order to maximize vegetative cover. Even with an optimized schedule, the quality of each grazing section must be taken into account to ensure the animals have everything they need in each section (the most prominent example being water). On top of that, the water source can't be in a fixed location, or the animals will overgraze around the water source, creating a mud pit that could allow bacteria and contamination to fester.
Benefits of MIRG
Animals that can be raised with managed intensive rotational grazing include pigs, cattle, sheep, turkeys, goats, and ducks. These animals reap a host of benefits from this process. First, they get all or most of their required exercise just by the act of moving around and grazing in the open. Second, chances of infections or contamination are greatly reduced due to not being confined in close quarters, even without the use of antibiotics. Finally, they get to lead happier, more fulfilled lives outside the cruelty of permanent confinement.
Farmers also reap many benefits from MIRG. For instance, there is an element of weed control to MIRG because the forage plants are healthier, and better able to compete, on top of having more biodiversity to fill in niches that would otherwise be taken by weeds. Also, while the yield of milk isn't always as high in MIRG systems, net income to farmers is usually greater when compared to to meat raised in confinement.
Here at Keller Crafted Meats, we are committed to raising grass fed organic meat the right way. If you're interested in trying or learning more about our products, feel free to give us a call today.