Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Multispecies Grazing

sheep grazing with cattle

Sheep grazing with cattle at White Oak Pastures(opens in new window) 

In multispecies grazing, two or more species of livestock graze the same pastures, if not at the same time then in close succession in the same grazing season. This is a departure from the norm in the United States but diversified farming and ranching is actually the most common approach elsewhere in the world. Grazing multiple animals works best with multiple types of forage as different species prefer different vegetation. But these choices combine to improve pasture quality, increase biodiversity and carbon sequestration, while increasing ranch or farm production and profitability.

Download a printable fact sheet based on this page. (PDF)

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WIll Harris with BullsMentor Farmers and Multispecies

Allen Williams(opens in new window)

Tablas Creek Vineyards(opens in new window)

Paicines Ranch(opens in new window)

White Oak Pastures(opens in new window) 


Practical Tips for Multispecies Grazing

This webinar discusses the benefits of multispecies grazing, the synergistic relationship between multiple animals and the soil and plants, fencing, predators, parasites, and how to stock pastures appropriately. Presented by Lee Rinehart, an agriculture program specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology's ATTRA sustainable-agriculture program.

Multispecies Grazing for Sustainable Farming

Webinar presented by Greg Brann, State Grazing Lands Specialist, USDA NRCS. Learn about the interaction between livestock, vegetation, and soil, and management needs to extend the grazing season and improve animal performance when managing multispecies grazing systems.

Web Resources

Science Literature

Anderson, Dean & Fredrickson, E. & Estell, Rick. (2012). Managing livestock using animal behavior: Mixed-species stocking and flerds.(opens in new window) animal. 6. 1339 - 1349. 10.1017/S175173111200016X. 

Fraser M.D., J.M., Moorby J.E. Vale, and D.M. Evans. 2014. Mixed grazing systems benefi t both upland biodiversity and livestock production.(opens in new window) PLoS ONE. Vol. 9, No. 2. p. e89054. 

Hintze, Kayla & Bir, Courtney & Peel, Derrell. (2021). Economic Feasibility of Mixed-Species Grazing to Improve Rangeland Productivity.(opens in new window) Animals : an open access journal from MDPI. 11. 10.3390/ani11051226.

Rowntree, Jason E.,  et al. “Ecosystem Impacts and Productive Capacity of a Multi-Species Pastured Livestock System(opens in new window).” Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, Dec. 4, 2020.