University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Building or Beginning Your Grazing Operation

The Center's Pasture Team (Jenn, Kimberly and Juan) is here to help Vermont's livestock farmers. Whether you've got a new farm and your first animals and are seeking to get started on grass farming right, or you're a seasoned farmer looking to convert to or improve your grass-based operations, we're here for you..

We hope you'll feel free to check out information about our Pasture Program and contact us to discuss how we can help. In the meantime, we offer this information about current research and findings (below), and invite you to peruse upcoming Pasture events, learn about the Vermont Pasture Network, or check out the videos on our YouTube channel.

  • Addressing Pasture Compaction

    Weighing the pros and cons of two options: Keyline plowing and the use of tillage radishes.

  • Pasture Management & Soil Conservation

    Livestock farms in Vermont can improve soil and water quality through pasture management. By keeping soils covered, and allowing pastures enough time for rest and recovery, soil health can be built and water quality can be improved..

  • Pasture Management & Water Quality

    Water quality can be directly benefited by well-managed pastures.

  • Bedded Pack in Vermont: Five Stories

    Happy, healthy, profitable animals are the central goal of livestock farmers. Bedded pack housing can be a path to that goal.

  • Why Management-intensive Grazing?

    Managment-intensive Grazing is an approach that rotates animals between 10 or more paddocks to ensure that animals are always receiving the most nutritious forage, while letting grazed paddocks get enough resting time for a vigorous re-growth..

  • Teaching Livestock to Become Weed Managers

    Smooth bedstraw, goldenrod, Canada thistle, spotted knapweed, milkweed and wild chervil are usually considered undeirable weeds, but are nutritious plants found in many pastures. If animals learn to eat them, it can increase production - and reduce management efforts to get rid of the weeds.

  • Forage Radishes & Keyline Plowing to Build Soil

    Forage radishes produce a nutritious, high-yielding forage and large taproot capable of penetrating compact soil. Keyline plowing is a mechanical method to alleviate compaction, and a subsoiling practice that is refined in order to avoid turning over soil and decomposing organic matter.

  • Agroforestry

    Agroforestry integrates crops, trees and livestock and can create long-lasting sustainable farming practices.

  • Bedded Pack (Fact Sheet)

    Bedded packs (BP) are alternative livestock housing systems that can provide animal welfare, waste management, soil fertility and water quality protection from nutrient overloads..

  • Grazing Assistance Charts

    These charts were developed by the Grass Whisperer Troy Bishopp after seeing what a difference the use of charts made on his farm.

  • Introduction to Management Intensive Grazing

    1999, by Bill Murphy. An overview of management intensive grazing with practical tips for setting up a grazing system for all classes of ruminant livestock. 8 pages.

  • Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy

    This book by NE-SARE Farmer Grant Specialist Carol Delaney (and an experienced goat farmer herself) provides clear details in the form of farmer advice, pictures, diagrams, and worksheets to help farmers planning a goat dairy start-up. Carol also remains available to answer questions via email.

  • Watering Systems for Livestock

    1997, by John Jemison, UMaine Extension Water Quality Specialist; and Chris Jones, Agronomist, Maine NRCS. An overview of watering systems for livestock, particularly useful in management intensive grazing systems. 4 pages.

  • Greener Pastures

    This full-color publication is an in-depth description of how UVM's Ellen A. Hardacre Equine Facility addressed chronic ice and mud issues, in hopes of helping other farmers find ways to improve their own paddocks. (Order from UVM Equine Science Dept. by clicking the title above.)

  • Stable Footing for Your Horse

    Practical strategies for high traffic area renovation are shared in this full color publication by Rachel Gilker and Betsey Greene. (Order from UVM Equine Science Dept. by clicking the title above.)