Why shouldn't a cow be eaten?

While pastures appear short and green to the untrained human eye, there are essential differences for the cows. Heavily filled or very damp surfaces, for example, tend to form felt on the stem base. This creates a musty smell that the cows don't even like. As a result, they only graze the top and the area performance (amount of milk per hectare of pasture) decreases. The common panicle and couch grass, which appear in nests, are also reluctant to eat. If the common panicle occurs only sporadically on the pasture, it is sorted out by the cows. They spit them out again, including the root.

Despite the high concentration of nutrients, there is no acidity in the rumen

On the short grass pasture, unlike on the proportional pasture, the cows are always in motion when eating. You have to graze a larger area here for the same amount of forage. It is not only eaten on the partially up to 3 cm short-grazed areas, but also on the longer, older grasses and the hot spots. The nutrient concentration of mostly young grass is very high, 30% crude protein with only 12% crude fiber are not uncommon. Despite this high protein concentration, the cows do not get rumen over-acidification. The consumption of many small amounts of food and constant movement ensure that small amounts are continuously flooded into the rumen for digestion.

High feed efficiency

The exact energy content of the pasture forage is not yet known, as there have not yet been any digestion tests. However, the feed efficiency is very high. For example, there are farms that milk 5,900 kg ECM per cow with just 3.3 dt of concentrated feed and intensive pasture. That is around 5,150 kg of ECM from coarse forage, which the cows "harvest" themselves during the growing season.

Dense sward due to nutrient reserves

If you take a closer look at the areas of such farms, you can see a dense sward. The cows eat the nutrient-rich leaves here, the stalks lie flat on the ground. For this reason, the short lawn willow appears dark green even with a height of only 5 cm. The nutrient reserves are less stressed here than with conventional cutting use. In contrast, the light stubble of the freshly mown meadow is less popular with the cows.

Rapid regeneration of the grass

How quickly the growth pattern of the grass changes can be shown with the help of willow baskets. Part of the area is separated from the grazing and mowed. In various experiments, the regenerative capacity of the grasses could be demonstrated on an intensive free-range pasture. A vertical growth was observed here after just three weeks. This is particularly beneficial in dry years. Another positive aspect of grazing is the promotion of white clover growth.

Pasture areas are usually not mowed

Farms with intensive standing pasture usually do not mow the areas again. The optimum height is only achieved by adding or dividing the area. The typical pasture droppings (not too firm and little fiber in the droppings) decompose quickly. However, more hot spots can often be found on sections of pastures. This shows that the cows ate particularly frequently in these areas. These horny spots are usually grazed in a pyramid shape by the cows.
Source: Dr. Edmund Leisen, Chamber of Agriculture North Rhine-Westphalia, Angela Mögel, LLH Griesheim (LW)