cows in field

Meeting the Pasture Rule Requirements

Record-keeping resources for the grazing season

By Lisa McCrory

Added June 6, 2011. After the unfolding of the NOP Pasture Rule, many organizations and accredited certifiers have been coming up with nifty record keeping forms to help producers keep track of their pasture forage intake. Included here are a couple different forms used to document dry matter intake from pasture (click here for another form recently added to the website--PCO's DMI Calculation worksheet).

The pasture calendar and map of the farm fields (below) is used by Pleasantview Farm (Circleville, Ohio) to verify where the cows grazed during the grazing season. "I see organic paperwork as an aid in being a better manager", says Perry Clutts, owner and operator of Pleasantview Farm. "Knowing where and when a field was grazed will help me know where I should have grass in the future." This worksheet is kept on a clipboard in the milk house and filled out daily. Being close at hand and easily accessible is important to having it filled out consistently. The farm map is laminated and taped to the underside of the clipboard so the inspector can see the fields and get an idea of how they keep track. This sheet shows dry cows, but Perry keeps sheets for each class of livestock. The milk cows move more than anyone, but everyone else on Perry's farm is 100% grass, so there is no issue with calculating percentages of dry matter intake.

The Dry Matter Intake (DMI) Template for calculating pasture (also pictured below) is another resource that Perry has created and is willing to share. (Download two of Perry's Excel spreadsheets by clicking here. One is a version Perry filled out for fresh cows, and one is a blank document for you to use.)