Primarily, due to their grazing habits, cattle, sheep, and goats are the best livestock to use. The way these livestock species consume plants (i.e., their eating style – close to the root vs. eating just the top of the plant, and the type of plants they consume) are vastly different from each other. This makes their mix the most ideal.
Understanding the grazing habits of your livestock, along with what they prefer to consume, will help you cultivate a healthy pasture environment, for both your crops and animals. Weekly farm newspaper based in the US, Country Folks states that cattle primarily eat grass, with about 70% of their pasture intake from grasses, 15% taken from forbs and browse for the remaining 15%. “Sheep prefer to graze on grass for about 50% of their needs, relying on forbs and browse for 30% and 20%, respectively. Goats prefer browse for 60% of their needs, with grass weighing in at 30% and forbs at 10%.” The variety of their grazing requirements can boost the biological action of the soil, and grazing “increases the biological efficiency of the land”.
It adds that by combining complementary grazers your available forages will be grazed at a more equal rate. This avoids “the negative selective pressures that occur when some forages are grazed to the ground while others are ignored,” it explains. By rotating the livestock throughout your pastures, “you can increase the pasture productivity by almost 20%”.