The Heifer Grazing Compass
Tools to promote a transition to grazing
In collaboration with the Grassland 2.0 project, CIAS is pleased to announce the availability of the Heifer Grazing Compass, the first in a suite of decision support tools that help farmers and farm service providers explore the financial benefits of a conversion to managed grazing to raise replacement heifers. This is a free, downloadable Excel spreadsheet. Soon to follow will be versions of the tool for beef enterprises as well as a Pasture Management Compass to help any farmer grazing ruminant animals optimize their grazing system.
The Heifer Grazing Compass is an Excel-based planning tool for anyone considering raising heifers on pasture. The tool is designed to help users predict and understand the cash flow and long-term financial outcomes associated with raising heifers on pasture. It can be used to help dairy farmers assess their options for raising heifers as well as by other farmers, outside of dairy, who might want to start raising heifers on pasture as an enterprise.
Why raise heifers using managed grazing versus confinement?
- Cost savings of 25% to over 50% per head per day during the grazing season.
- Labor savings of 50% to 75% during the grazing season.
- Fewer herd health issues.
- Less wear and tear on existing facilities and equipment.
- The same or better performance in terms of daily weight gain and future milk production.
- Create a farm enterprise that appreciates in value, sequesters carbon, and cleans water.
- Become more self-sufficient and resilient to shocks in corn/soy prices, drought, and flooding.
- Programs such as EQIP from the USDA NRCS can help offset