Pasture Management

STOCKSCH 211 – Pasture Management Online


 Instructor: Dr. Masoud Hashemi, Extension Professor


Text Book: The Art and Science of Grazing by Sarah Flack (2016) (optional)


  1. Overall Course Objective:

Forages in form of pasture, hay, silage/baelage have the potential to provide all nutritional needs of livestock and horses. Well-managed forage systems including planned grazing contribute significantly to the sustainability of all animals’ operations and environmental quality. This course covers the principles of pastures and hay fields management which can be implemented in all farms regardless of animals’ type. Upon completion of the course, students should acquire basic knowledge about the benefits of pasture as the main source of animals’ diet, identification and growth pattern of grasses and legumes commonly grown in pastures and hay fields, forage quality and testing and factors affecting forage quality, grazing and/or harvesting management of forages to maximize their health and productivity, managing existing pastures and hay fields, and establishing new pastures and hay fields. Also in this course, options for extending grazing period will be discussed.

Due to some differences between horses in terms of grazing habit, nutritional need and sensitivity to poisonous plants, specific comments and recommendations will be given for equine operation.

The course consists of a combination of lectures, assignments, group discussion, quizzes and exams.

Lecture Topics:

  1.  Introduction to pastures:
  • Importance of pasturing; animals’ health, economics, environmental quality.
  1. Proper forage species for pastures and hay:


  • Importance of grasses in pastures
  • Common grasses in pastures and hay fields
  • Advantages and disadvantages of common grass species


  • The importance of legumes in pasture
  • Common legumes for pastures and hay fields
  • Advantages and disadvantages of common legume species
  1. How forage plants grow
  • Seasonal pattern of pasture growth and productivity
  • Forage species’ response to grazing/cutting
  • Estimating forage yield
  • Forage quality
  • Major components of forage quality
  • Testing quality of forages
    • Visual
    • NIR
  • Forage yield/quality relationship
  • Factors affecting forage quality
  1. Managing existing pastures
  • Soil testing and liming
  • Fertilization
  • Grazing management
  • Grazing systems
  • Stocking density
  • Managing pastures and hay field for winter survival
  • Overgrazing; impact on animals’ health and environment
  • Sacrifice areas (exercise lots)
  • Dragging, harrowing, mowing of pastures
  • Weed control in pastures and hay fields
  • Improving forage quality in pastures and hay fields
  1. Establishing new pastures/hay fields
  • Establishing renovating
  • Selecting forage species for mixed stands
  • Land preparation and seeding methods
  • Equipment
  • Management after reseeding
  1. Methods and management for storing forages
  • Dry hay
  • Silage
  • Haylage
  • Baelage
  1. Extending the grazing season
  • Stockpiling forages
  • Grain corn field residues
  • Dual purpose cover crops
  • Summer annual forages

Quizzes and Exams Schedule:

  1. Quizzes: There are 6 announced quizzes. Each quiz worth 6 points.
  2. Exams: There are two exams; one mid-term exam (14 points) and one final exam (30 points).


  •  6 short quizzes, 6 points each (36% of the final grade)
  • Group Discussion, 20 points (20% of the final grade)
  • Mid-term exam, 14 points (14% of the final grade)
  • Final exam, 30 points (30% of the final grade)

Total 100%

Grading Scale

A  = 93- 100%
A  = 90- 92.5%
B+ = 87- 89.5%
B  = 83- 86.5%
B = 80- 82.5%
C+ = 77- 79.5%
C = 73- 76.5%
C = 70- 72.5%
D+ = 67- 69.5%
D = 63- 66.5%
D = 60- 62.5%
F  = <60%


This class is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming Online Certificate Program and will count toward the Associate of Science degree as well as the Online B.S. degree.  Online classes cost $482/credit.

To begin planning for the future, see….

Annual Class Schedule

NOTE: The UMass Sustainable Food and Farming Certificate has been declared eligible for Veterans Educational Benefits. For instructions see: Veterans Benefits.

If you are not interested in earning college credit, there are many non-credited workshops and short courses you can take outside of the university.  For a list see: non-university workshops and courses.

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