Carbon dioxide, water, soil minerals and solar energy combine to grow the plant that animals consume to produce meat, milk and fiber. The four key ecosystem processes should determine a producer’s grazing management. Ranchers should strive to build a better solar panel of plants to turn sunlight into forage for animal consumption, bare soil is lost opportunity and a allows for unwanted weeds, appropriate ground cover facilitates the capture of rain, good levels of soil organic material combined with legumes promotes a dynamic cycle of nitrogen and minerals, a diverse mix of forages allows for the many functions plants provide to the ecosystem. Plants require residual leaf growth and periods of rest to thrive. For grasslands to be healthy they must be utilized with proper grazing management.

Pasture Management based on Four Ecosystem Processes
Jim Gerrish
American GrazingLands Services LLC, Patterson ID USA
August 2014
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