How to Implement and Manage a Pasture-Based Livestock Program for Carbon Sequestration

NJ Landowner Blogs | 2024


Pasture-based livestock management is a type of regenerative farming practice that involves the use of grasslands to raise livestock, as opposed to confining animals to feedlots or other types of confinement operations. This approach can have numerous benefits, including improved animal welfare, enhanced soil health, and increased carbon sequestration. The farmer will also see cost savings by reducing inputs needed to manage the soil. Here are some steps for implementing and managing a pasture-based livestock program for carbon sequestration:

1. Identify a suitable location: The first step in implementing a pasture-based livestock
management program is to identify a location with suitable grassland resources. This
may include pastureland that is currently being used for livestock production or land that is suitable for conversion to pasture. In Northern New Jersey there are many hay
operations, field corn and soybean fields that can be restored for pasturing of livestock.

2. Develop a management plan: A comprehensive management plan is essential for the success of a pasture-based livestock management program. This should include details on how the pasture will be managed, including how often animals will be rotated, how the pasture will be fertilized, and how the pasture will be protected from erosion.

3. Select appropriate livestock breeds: Some livestock breeds are better suited to
pasture-based systems than others. Consider selecting breeds that are well adapted to grazing and can thrive on a grass-based diet.

4. Fence the pasture: Proper fencing is essential for the success of a pasture-based
livestock management program. This will help to keep animals contained and prevent

5. Rotate animals: Rotating animals between different pastures can help to prevent
overgrazing and improve the health of the pasture. This can be done by moving animals to a different pasture every day, every few days, or weeks.

6. Monitor and manage grass growth: Regularly monitoring and managing grass growth is important for the success of a pasture-based livestock management program. This may involve mowing, fertilizing, or reseeding as needed to maintain optimal grass growth. Did you know that horses pull out the grass roots out when they eat? Contrarily, a cow will just mow it down leaving the roots for quick regrowth.

 By following these steps and implementing a well-planned pasture-based livestock
management program, farmers can help to sequester carbon in the soil and contribute to the fight against climate change. Example: Pinto Consulting’s client, Duke Farms, in Hillsborough is managing its farmland as grasslands to help attract a variety of grassland bird species.

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