About four years ago, Paul Tillotson, Cottonwood Farms, near Pavilion, N.Y.,
converted his 225-cow confinement herd to grazing. He offers these points to help others make a smooth transition:

  1. Start walking your fields. Learn about the soil types on your farm, what grasses and legumes work best with those soil types, and how much moisture the plants need. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to get things right.
  2. Choose a forage-type cow. Tillotson uses some New Zealand genetics and crossbreeding to get a better grazing cow.