Prior to the advent of mechanized farming, pasture was the primary source of food for cattle and sheep. It is still used to some degree. Advances in managed intensive grazing (MIG), and improvements in fence technology, led to renewed interest in grazing in the 1990s.
Pasture growth can consist of grasseses, legumes, or a mixture. Alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil are legumes that are used in intensive pasture management. Many grasses, including native grasses, bluegrass, orchardgrass, and reed canarygrass are used, depending upon conditions, of which soil type, minimum annual temperature, and rainfall amount are most important.