Pasture management is part science and part art. The science involves knowledge of grassland agronomy, animal nutrition, animal behaviour, and soil science. These things can be taught and provide a strong foundation for good grazing management. The art depends on a producer’s own experience, observations, and intuition developed through managing the unique variables of land, livestock, grass, labour, and climate found on their own farm. Some resources on the science of pasture production can be found here.

General Resources

Pasture Production

OMAFRA Publication 19: Pasture Production provides information on improving pastures, including species selection, fertility, rejuvenation and renovation, weed control, grazing systems, fencing and watering. It also provides insight into animal pasture management, budgeting, and managing different types of livestock on pasture.

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Ontario Carrying Capacity Calculator


  • Worksheet is a guide only. Use at own risk. No guarantees or accuracy implied.
  • Carrying capacity is an estimate of how many animals an area of land can sustainably feed. It does NOT factor in forage quality; quality is assumed to be appropriate for the type(s) of animals being fed.
  • Carrying capacity can be used as a starting point to determine an appropriate stocking rate. It varies greatly between farms, even in the same county/district. Go through the steps and ensure values reflect your own situation. Use real measures where possible.

Species Selection

Forage U-Pick

Forage U-Pick is an interactive perennial forage species selection tool for Canada. Choose the growing zone where your farm based on the map, then select up to three Field Characteristics that are most important to your production system. Forage U-Pick will filter possible species to only show you those best suited to your field. Take the short list to your seed supplier to get a custom blend that really sings.

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Midwest Cover Crop Council Cover Crop Decision Tools

The Midwest Cover Crop Council (MCCC) Cover Crop Decision Tools are web-based systems to assist farmers in selecting cover crops to include in field crop and vegetable rotations. Selecting “Good Grazing” as a cover crop goal will rank the annual crops in the database on their suitability for grazing.

Pest Management

Ontario Crop Protection Hub

The Ontario Crop Protection Hub is OMAFRA’s official crop protection resource. It replaces Publication 75: Guide to Weed Control and Publication 812: Field Crop Protection Guide. The Crop Protection Hub is an online database with the latest information on pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) labelled for use in Ontario.

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Watering Systems

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service wrote a comprehensive guide to watering systems on pasture in the state of Missouri. Many of the principles of water systems apply in Ontario.