Fall grazing, good or bad?
I have a small dairy goat farm, and at the moment have 5 adult does plus 2 donkeys. In the winter they are confined to the paddock around the barn, but in spring I begin rotating them between 3 small pastures, one to two acres in size. In July, after hay harvest I let them out onto the 7 acre cut hayfield. They have access to this field the majority of each day until the fall rains begin in earnest, and the soil becomes soft and muddy. This of course reduces baled hay consumption, minimizes cleanup and makes for contented animals. This year we have had just enough precipitation to start the grass growing again but the ground is still firm. However I'm sure my critters (especially the donkeys) are targeting the new grass and suspect that they will munch it down to near soil surface. The question I have is will this grass recover over the winter once I take them off the field, or are they damaging my next year's hay crop?