HAVE YOU ever noticed how curious calves are? If you have a hole somewhere in a fence, or a gate isn't completely closed, what will be the first thing to go through? It'll probably be a calf.

Our first instinct is to fix that gap. But why not take advantage of this curious nature in calves. Creep-grazing calves is one of the cheapest ways to provide extra nutrition and better gains on calves.

A few acres of annual lespedeza or even an old alfalfa field that has thinned out can provide an excellent creep pasture. Putting up a creep gate, or some sort of a gap that calves can get through, will provide them access to a high-quality pasture and the opportunity to get extra nutrients that their mothers don't need.

If you don't have a field planted into a forage for this purpose, it's still possible to provide creep grazing. If you are rotating your cattle between pastures every few weeks, then put up a creep gate so that calves have access to the new pasture before the cows.

The calves will move into the pasture, clip off the top of the grass and clover, providing a high-quality diet. The cows can come behind the calves and graze the remainder of the forage, which is high enough in quality to meet their needs. This is called "forward creep grazing."