Grazing Cattle: Helping the Environment

Cattle not only produce a nutrient-dense protein by converting forages humans cannot consume and producing beef products  that they can, but they also help protect and enhance the environment and animals within the environment. Approximately 85 percent of the United States grazing lands are unsuitable for growing and producing crops. Grazing cattle on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food.

In southern Ohio, there are rolling hills and mountains that make it unable to plant and harvest crops, so as a result, farmers graze their cattle on hillsides. To utilize the land that cannot be used to produce crops on, it is beneficial to utilize it in other ways such as grazing cattle. Planting grasses and grazing cattle on rolling lands also help prevent soil erosion.

cows, hill, hay

Planting grasses and grazing cattle on hills helps to prevent hillside erosion.

 

Maintaining open space for cattle grazing in pastures allows lands to remain natural, free of debris, invasive species and plants.

cow on a hill

Farmers and ranchers are able to utilize hills unsuited for growing crops to graze their cattle.

 

Grazing cattle on grassy pastures benefit plant life. Open grasslands are generally dominated by invasive or non-native grasses and herbs. When left unmanaged, the vegetation of the invasive species tends to overpower the needed nutrients and water in the soil. Grazing livestock controls the growth of these invasive species which allows desirable grasses and herbs to grow and co-generate in pasture lands.

The introduction and maintenance of wild animals and habitats as homes for endangered species and ground nesting birds is protected through cattle grazing. The increase in diversity of species benefits from the vegetation management performed by livestock.

cow eating weed

Cattle herds maintain invasive species by eating as well as walking and laying on the invasive plants.

Grazing cattle on pasture lands also control weeds and prevents residue build-up on pasture land so it does not turn into hot and dangerous fires. Farmers and ranchers properly manage livestock grazing in order to reduce fire hazards by controlling the amount of distribution of grasses and other potential fuels.

Beef cattle can be called ‘dual-purpose’ animals. Not only are they able to take grasses and forages humans are unable to eat and produce a nutrient-rich protein we can consume, they also help maintain a healthy and productive environment. Cattle are utilized on lands unsuited for crop growth to help prevent erosion, wildlife and invasive species, and wildfires. At the end of the day, farmers and ranchers utilize their cattle herds as environmentalists and therefore are stewards of the land.

 

~Demi~

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