NOTE: The research that led to the development of Smart Grazing was conducted with sheep. The basic principles underlying its benefit for reducing the number of worm larvae on pasture will remain the same but its effectiveness in goats has not been established.
‘Smart grazing’ is a system developed in Victoria by Dr Paul Niven to create low worm-risk autumn weaner paddocks in winter rainfall regions. This was adapted for the Northern Tablelands of NSW by Dr Justin Bailey, and is called ‘Smart Grazing—summer rainfall’. Both versions are based on very short periods of intensive grazing at increased stocking rates.
The Northern Tablelands version takes advantage of a four-month cold period in winter (May-August) combined with two bursts of intensive grazing in summer and autumn. This results in an eight-month period where contamination of the paddock with worm eggs is prevented and most of the existing eggs and larvae die.
The process uses a high stocking rate during the grazing period, about four times normal, in order to rapidly reduce the pasture mass, thus increasing exposure of worm larvae to the elements to increase death rate.
The success also relies on the sheep used for grazing being treated with a fully effective drench and that they only graze the paddocks within the protection period of that drench.