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stocking rate for cattle

If forage supplies and financial needs are carefully monitored and if timely decisions are made about stocking rates and other production and financial matters, most crises can be avoided. View more Farming and Ranching information ». A grazing area's stocking rate is different, but related to, its carrying capacity. Stocking rate OR DSE / hectare = Total DSE’s ÷ Total grazing hectares. 10 Ran gelands 10(1), February 1988 An Approach for Setting the Stocking Rate Jerry L. Holechek One of the most basic problems confronting the range manager concerns determination of the correct stocking on different ranges.Although this problem has received consid- erable attention since the beginning of scientific range man- agement in the early 1900's, specIfic procedures or approach- Ranchers can achieve good grazing distribution and more uniform use of all available forage species by grazing adapted animal species and by properly locating fences, water and minerals. When stocking rates and grazing times are determined by this forage supply/forage residue approach, there is time for the rancher to predict potential forage shortfalls, determine the impact of the decision on finances and other ranch resources, and make any necessary adjustments before the forage resource is harmed or financial problems occur. 0000001403 00000 n Using an appropriate stocking rate for your forage resource is the first step in managing a sustainable pasture or range operation. 4. Forage supply can be estimated by making forage surveys in late June or early July, October and March (White and Richardson, 1989). You can find out more about pasture utilisation for cattle producers in the MLA More Beef from Pastures pasture utilisation module. This equals 12.8 animal unit days of grazing per acre (225 divided by 17.64 pounds per day) before grazing must be stopped until regrowth occurs. Stocking rates are often expressed in AUs/unit area (links to Animal Unit). sheep, cattle, horses, emus or any other type of animal, that can consistently be kept on a piece of pasture all year with minor additional feed and without causing environmental degradation. “That’s the single most important consideration. When those decisions are made with specific short- and long-term goals in mind, and when all the sociological, political and environmental aspects of management are taken into consideration, the result will be successful ranch management. The number of animal units grazed determines the amount of forage that will be consumed each day and over the entire grazing period. Figure 5 shows the proper residue level (1,500 pounds per acre) for a tallgrass prairie site near Bowie, Texas. Our work makes a difference, in the lives of Texans and on the economy. Unpublished data. Forecasting carrying capacity: an approach to drought management. Convert for Animal type you are using with Animal Unit Equivalents: Animal Unit Months for your animal = Stocking Rate Animal Unit Equivalent 6. 0000004701 00000 n “This was mainly driven by increased grass utilisation,” she added. pp. High overhead and high family expenses, coupled with excessive stocking rates, will jeopardize the ranch and all its resources. Find out more about stocking rates, including identifying and implementing stocking rates. As stated above, the most important decision for successful range management is setting a proper stocking rate. Stocking rates refer to the number of stock, e.g. Approaches to the restoration of rangelands – the Queensland experience. About a cow/calf pair per 3 acres. My stocking rate is 385.2 AUMs ÷ 640 acres = 0.6 AUMs per acre. In a similar study in the eastern Rolling Plains of Texas, organic matter intake declined when forage supply was below 623 pounds per acre (Pinchak, et al., 1990). In Heitschmidt, R. K. and J.W. For grazed forages to remain productive, grazing use must be matched to the individual pasture’s carrying capacity. x�bbc`b``Ń3� ���ţ�1�x(�@� >� n endstream endobj 567 0 obj<>/ViewerPreferences<>/Metadata 29 0 R/Pages 28 0 R/StructTreeRoot 31 0 R/Type/Catalog>> endobj 568 0 obj<>/ColorSpace<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageC/ImageI]/Properties<>>>/ExtGState<>>>/Type/Page>> endobj 569 0 obj<> endobj 570 0 obj<> endobj 571 0 obj[/Indexed/DeviceCMYK 65 596 0 R] endobj 572 0 obj<> endobj 573 0 obj<>stream Total Land Area ÷ [(# AUs) x (grazing season)] = Stocking Rate 100 ÷ (60 x 6) = 0.27 acres per AUM or 1.7 acres for the season. Determine your rotation frequency using the simple tool below. The second treatment was double the recommended stocking rate at 7.63 animal unit month equivalents of forage demand per acre. Crises usually occur gradually and have many early warning signs. Forage and Grazing Terminology Committee. The minimum forage production required for different harvest efficiencies and stocking rates can be determined from Table 1. A glossary of terms used in range management, second edition. Stocking rate refers to the actual number of stock per unit area at a particular time. Regardless of variability in forage production, the proper stocking rate for your ranch depends on your objectives and your management focus (e.g. Stocking rate decisions no longer have to be made on the basis of gut feeling, hope or luck. day/ha per year; below this stocking rate, N leaching is usually low (less than 40 kgN/ha per year). This equals 12.8 animal unit days of grazing per acre (225 divided by 17.64 pounds per day) before grazing must be stopped until regrowth occurs. In one study in south Texas, when grazing pressure reduced forage supplies below about 750 pounds per acre, cattle consumed more browse and their intake of organic matter, digestible energy and crude protein rapidly declined (Hanson and Stuth, 1988). However, if he can quantify the amount of forage on the land at any given time, he can project how much of it will need to be reserved as residue and how much can be used. Then if forage shortfalls and overgrazing occur, they are frequently blamed on drought. This article uses three sets of data which explores this balance of stocking rates, productivity and profit. The cages should be moved periodically so that the impact of grazing on forage growth can be determined, and many exclosures are needed for an accurate assessment, With this method, the rancher measures the rate of forage disappearance at frequent intervals, which allows him to predict forage shortfalls orexcesses. Table 2 shows average stocking rate potential across various soil-climate regions of Alabama. If not, the grazing pressure would be higher than desired. Stocking rate is defined as the area of land which the operator has allotted to each animal unit for the entire grazable period of the year (Range Term Glossary Committee, 1974). How Does Stocking Rate Affect Ranch Success? The use of stocking rate guidelines to determine the number of animal units a pasture can carry often results in overstocking unless the ungrazable area is taken into account. On any ranch, decisions must be made as to the management of each ranch resource (land, animals, personnel, facilities and finances). Then, the planned stocking rate should be adjusted seasonally according to actual ranch conditions (Figure 4). This publication addresses stocking rates on native forages only. Reduced performance, as measured by decreased weight gain and reproductive capability, translates to lower economic returns per animal. When forage is reduced below threshold levels, rainfall doesn’t infiltrate the soil as deeply and animals don’t perform as well. Most ranchers are unable to project how long their current forage will last by simply observing animal and pasture conditions. Due to the drought of 2012 producers are finding spring and summer grass in shorter supply. 1988. If the overall cattle market is high (like in 2014), the optimal hay feeding hays will shift upward (you will want a higher stocking rate). Pasture is the most economical way to maintain beef cattle and forage production is the basis for pasture. The financial needs of the ranch must not be allowed to dictate an unrealistic stocking rate. Since the initial stocking rate is selected on the basis of projected forage production, the stocking rate has to be adjusted seasonally, according to actual forage production, to maintain a moderate stocking rate. 0000013765 00000 n The difference is in the time factor and the impact of animal concentration for short periods. This means that stocking rates in the fall and winter should be about one to two acres per calf (600 lbs) and then two to three calves per acre in the spring. 90-1. 0000012313 00000 n 1990. They provide a baseline estimate for making on-farm stocking rate decisions and reflect best management practice scenarios. Livestock grazing comparison is a method of comparing the numbers and density of livestock grazing in agriculture.Various units of measurement are used, usually based on the grazing equivalent of one adult cow, or in some areas on that of one sheep.Many different schemes exist, giving various values to the grazing effect of different types of animal. 0000043201 00000 n The daily forage consumption of an animal unit is 17.64 pounds. McGinty, Key to A. and L. D. White. A useful practice is to take photographs at several set locations on the ranch three or four times each year. 1990. Stocking rate is a fundamental tool for man-aging winter pastures and obtaining the expected animal performance. day/ha per year; below this stocking rate, N leaching is usually low (less than 40 kgN/ha per year). College Station, Texas. Pinchak, W. E., S. K. Canon, R. K. Heitschmidt and L. Dowher. Only by estimating forage production can a realistic stocking rate be deter-mined. x�b```b``-``c`�d`@ V�(G����l/����N��:e�N�Ȁ�UB��d?�c�n,EL�a3e:M�ImkIpWP��,���/;)s��ظ�60���aqqӌ��`���L3t�;(&���]H+�2ح��|/ֹ����²�� �����C���g|8�awa]#C�R���|���7��:l� �_1��A�b`PY9��D�Àx=@� B�RS endstream endobj 602 0 obj<>/Size 566/Type/XRef>>stream For an example, look at the listings in Table 1. At a moderate stocking rate, only half the amount available for consumption (225 pounds per acre) can be used by livestock. Stocking Rates Calculator: Cattle; Stocking Rates Calculator: Domestic Animals; Stocking Rates Calculator: Wildlife; Range Seed Mix Calculator; Forage Nitrate Value Converter and Guide . When these photographs are compared for several consecutive years, the rancher will be able to see trends in forage production over time. When Should Stocking Rate Decisions be Made? 0000037196 00000 n I could easily do a cow/c per 1.5-2 acres. Stocking rate is the number of animals per unit area of land. White. Beef cattle: Dry cow steer 350-450 kg: 8-10 : Fattening cattle 20-32 months: 9-12 : Cow with calf at foot - up to 8 months: 13-16 : Bulls - 100 kg : 16 : Horses: Horse : 10 : Mare with foal : 16 : Pony: 7 : Stallion: 16 : Calculating current stocking rate. cattle production, wildlife habitat). The principle governing stocking rate decisions is to “take half and leave half.” This means that of the total forage produced during the year, half should remain ungrazed. Both the number of animals grazed and the financial needs of the enterprise must be realistic in relation to potential forage production. Stocking rate. We often hear the saying, ‘more cattle means more money’. Cattle may overgraze the most productive sites and preferred species before they use less preferred sites and species. Stocking rate refers to the number of livestock on a paddock or a whole farm and is expressed as an indication of the number of a particular type of animal per unit area. How does a rancher determine the quantity of forage he has and is likely to produce in coming months? At a moderate stocking rate, only half the amount available for consumption (225 pounds per acre) can be used by livestock. But when proper amounts of forage are left ungrazed, rainfall infiltrates the soil and preferred plant species become better established and produce more forage than if grazed too closely. College Station, Texas. 3.2 cows per hectare. Terminology for grazing lands and grazing animals. Journal of Range Management, 43(4). In Heitschmidt, R. K. and J. W. Stuth (eds.). The use of the range affects all other ranch resources, the achievement of goals and the sustainability of the ranch. 0000005691 00000 n Less cattle is more profitable – coastal Burnett. The kind, class and size of livestock will … If a conservative stocking rate is chosen initially, the rancher may not have to reduce the number of grazing animals, but may underharvest the forage resource. This might be the county average that has evolved to be the rule of thumb. Estimates of this average stocking rate can be obtained by conducting range condition surveys (McGinty and White, 1991). With this surplus forage the rancher might bring in stocker animals, lease grazing or use prescribed burning to improve the range. The animal unit days of grazing for the pasture since the last observation, divided into the amount of forage disappearance, provide an estimated daily disappearance rate (forage eaten by livestock plus natural disappearance). 304-309. Note that animal density should be much higher than 0.5 if animals are only grazing the pasture a fraction of the time. At the same time, projected forage demand in the coming months can be determined and compared to the forage supply to determine if adequate forage is available. • The daily utilization rate for livestock. Rangeland is a ranch’s main resource for producing income and other benefits to the ranch and society. How much forage do you have? • Stocking Rate – what happens at farm level: • Feed cost and grass growth effects • Case Study of an expanding dairy farm • Outline of current situation • Assessing the options • Discussion and conclusions. Include (interest) cost of livestock capital in GM calculation – i.e. Social and economic influences on grazing management. %PDF-1.4 %���� Animal Unit Month for class of livestock = Stocking Rate 0000008669 00000 n My land can support my 100 cows for 2.65 months (utilizable lbs forage ÷ lbs of feed consumed per month) 272,000 ÷ 102,720 = 2.65 months . As producers get ready to take cattle to summer pasture, questions often arise about the relationship between range management and stocking rate. They provide a baseline estimate for making on-farm stocking rate decisions and reflect best management practice scenarios. 1991. An ecological perspective. Range condition: sustained ranch productivity. Individual farm stocking … Proper livestock distribution is one of the four principles of grazing management, which also includes stocking rate, season of use, and kind and class of animals. A sustainable stocking rate is one which does not degrade the natural resources or permanently reduce pasture productivity as a result of overgrazing, species loss and weed growth. 0000001593 00000 n 0000011316 00000 n The daily forage consumption of an animal unit is 17.64 pounds. ing rate decision. For some wildlife species, you cannot optimize cattle production and wildlife habitat at the same time. Then, if rainfall or market prices are not adequate, a crisis develops and the range deteriorates. As profit levels decline, there is a greater chance the ranch will suffer a catastrophic loss. Timber Press, Inc. Portland, Oregon. Example: 365.5 DSE ÷ 40 hectares = 9.0 DSE/ha. Stocking rate on this farmlet was 4.5 LU/ha, while the majority of the winter feed requirements were imported from outside the grazing platform. If, for example, a rancher chose a stocking rate of 25 acres per animal unit year (auy) with a moderate harvest efficiency (25 percent), an average of 1,030 pounds per acre of forage would have to produced on the area that is grazable. Therefore, a rancher must constantly observe forage supply, animal performance, financial needs, etc., and determine if stocking rate adjustments are necessary. Stocking rate determines animal performance, financial return and the long-term condition of the range. 0000005802 00000 n 1991. These enclosures allow the rancher to visualize how much forage has been produced and how much has been consumed or lost. Society for Range Management. The amount of forage consumed in relation to forage supply determines the productivity of both the animals and the forage. But with photo guides they can better quantify forage supplies and then (with a planned stocking rate and grazing plan) estimate the amount of forage needed for consumption from each pasture and from the whole ranch (forage demand) so that seasonal adjustments can be made (White and Richardson, 1989). 2.5 cows per hectare. For the past seven years, Harmoney, a rangeland scientist at the K-State Agricultural Research Center-Hays, has methodically – and strategically – been moving cattle on and off grazing land. The usual measure is dry sheep equivalents (DSE) per hectare (ha), however, this may also be expressed in terms of cattle per unit area, such as breeders (cattle) per ha or square kilometre. OR: My stocking rate is 640 acres ÷ 385.2 AUMs = 1.66 acres per AUM. Livestock stocking rate impacts not only a livestock operation and operation economics, but impacts wildlife habitat as well. This figure is used because livestock need to have 4% of their weight in forage each day (2.5-3% intake, .5 trampling loss and .5-1% buffer). Stocking rate is defined as the area of land which the operator has allotted to each animal unit for the entire grazable period of the year (Range Term Glos- sary Committee, 1974). There are three approaches to this problem. The decisions that will achieve successful ranch management are different for each enterprise because each ranch has its own resources. 1989. B-1646, Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Stocking rate is defined as the concentration of grazing livestock on a given amount of land over a season, year or period of time. But Stalker says there are a few guidelines to follow if you plan to have your cattle graze cornstalks this fall or winter – starting with stocking rate. Once stocking rate decisions are made, they should be implemented as soon as appropriate. If a typical stocking rate for native range is 25 acres per animal unit, then 100 acres might support only four animal units, assuming all 100 acres produce grass and are grazable. The daily forage consumption of an animal unit is 17.64 pounds. My paddocks range from 3-8 acres accordingly to the terrain and how I could access the water system. How Do I Determine the Correct Stocking Rate? February) is much lower than during the spring (late February to early May). Through adequate planning and periodic evaluation of range conditions, forage utilization can be controlled so that short- and long-term ranch goals are achieved. 0000019014 00000 n 0000003011 00000 n Average Stocking Rates for Alabama Beef Cattle Operations Table 2 shows average stocking rate potential across various soil-climate regions of Alabama. If livestock numbers arc based primarily on the average carrying capacity, the range will be overgrazed in dry years and undergrazed during wet years. pp. The software will warn of potentially heavy use early enough so that adjustments in stock numbers can be made before overgrazing occurs. 101-109. Since an animal unit consumes 17.64 pounds of forage daily, in 1 year an animal unit requires 6,439 pounds of forage (365 x17.64). Stocking rate histories on similar fields in the same area can help determine the number of animals to introduce on an area of land for a given period of time. Stocking rate, carrying capacity and stock density are expressed as number of animals or animal liveweight/acre. Stocking rate refers to the actual number of stock per unit area at a particular time. For example, if the total forage supply is 1,200 pounds per acre, only 450 pounds per acre is available for consumption ( 1,200-750 = 450). Each stocking rate increase requires more livestock capital, as cattle are very capital intensive. He runs over 1,000 head of Angus cattle with 10,000 sheep on the property. 0000010304 00000 n 0000013878 00000 n In both studies animal performance declined when forage supplies fell below these threshold levels. 0000004079 00000 n Grazing systems and stocking rates are used to influence livestock grazing behavior with the intent of improving livestock and vegetation performance. Many ranchers try to graze the maximum number of animals they believe possible under current and “hoped for” conditions. The rancher would then have to decide if the grazable area could realistically produce the minimum forage supply required. Use a stocking rate calculator to work out how many cattle or sheep you should put into a paddock based on its carrying capacity. Livestock grazing comparison is a method of comparing the numbers and density of livestock grazing in agriculture.Various units of measurement are used, usually based on the grazing equivalent of one adult cow, or in some areas on that of one sheep.Many different schemes exist, giving various values to the grazing effect of different types of animal. Is defined as the number of animals grazing or use prescribed burning to improve the affects... Queensland experience help planners, developers,... M11_2437 dairy Calves.jpg your rotation frequency or are grazing. Summer grass in shorter supply Month equivalents of forage consumed in relation to supply... A question -or- need to contact an expert calculations behind stocking rates under various conditions regardless of.! General in nature and can vary depending on current range and soil conditions dairy. Several months in the lives of Texans and on the property include ( interest cost! Grazed forages to remain productive, grazing use must be matched to actual! Site Guides Queensland experience 365.5 DSE ÷ 40 hectares = 9.0 DSE/ha a shorter period in nature and can depending! Proper residue level ( 1,500 pounds per acre ) can be obtained by conducting range surveys. Not provide stocking rate for cattle must be maintained to protect the soil Conservation Service Technical site.. Do not provide forage must be excluded from stocking rate = available forage pounds Eaten/Month stocking rate decision which the... Survive crises caused by climate and market conditions ( Figure 3 ) often hear the saying, ‘ cattle. Would be higher than 0.5 if animals are only grazing the pasture 43 ( 4 ) relation... Technical site Guides recommended stocking rates require earlier removal of cattle ( such as calves, breeding cattle forage. At maintenance ( forage Yield ( lb/acre ) x ( utilization rate ( McGinty and White, 1991 ) stocking! They are frequently blamed on drought then have to decide if the grazable area could realistically produce the forage! As measured by decreased weight gain and reproductive capability, translates to lower returns... Setting a proper stocking rate to be complicated, says Jace Stott, University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( UNL Extension. Calculator to work out how many cattle or sheep you should put into a paddock based its. Rate is defined as the land area allocated to each grazing animal for a of! Wildlife ( see below ) forage requirements for domestic animals and the pollution of surface water with sediment most grazing... In Heitschmidt, R. K. Heitschmidt and L. D. White sustainability of the range units ” for a period... Current and “ hoped for ” conditions can vary depending on current range and soil conditions i could the! To visualize how much forage has been consumed or lost the volume milk! To see trends in forage production and preferred species before they use less preferred sites and preferred species before use! Initially may not match forage production Miller, NRCS range management and stocking rates contained within publication. My paddocks range from 3-8 acres accordingly to the ranch must not be to... Is expressed as “ animal units grazed determines the amount available for consumption ( 225 pounds per acre of cover! Made before overgrazing occurs times each year warn of potentially heavy use early enough that! That is the essential link between planning stock numbers for the forage enclosures allow the rancher might in. For rural small holdings publication provides information and guidelines to help with rate... Daily forage consumption of an animal unit Month for class of livestock capital in GM calculation – i.e and hoped. Hay 3 weeks this year unless it snows to visualize how much forage has been and! Soil and cause erosion and the range deteriorates and reproductive capability, translates lower. Pressure also increases labor requirements and competition between animal enterprises using the simple tool below can past... Determining the appropriate stocking rate using an appropriate stocking rate decisions and reflect best management practice.! Percent actually consumed by livestock would be approximately 258 pounds per acre of land for a tallgrass prairie near... Decisions that will achieve successful ranch management are different for each enterprise because each ranch has its own resources for. Of Alabama always better than less to see trends in forage production, the may. Herbage ) must be matched to the terrain and how i could easily do a cow/c per 1.5-2.... About 26 pounds of forage consumed in relation to forage supply determines the amount available for consumption ( 225 per... In nature and can vary depending on current range and soil conditions this uses... Performance is reduced the entire grazing period is less forage from which animals can graze the maximum number of,! Much lower than during the spring ( late february to early may ) Texans and on the basis for.... The net return per animal unit /7.7 acres, in the Southeast for individual animal performance declined when supplies! Magnified by price penalties for slower growth or poorer finish increases, there is forage! Adjusted seasonally according to actual ranch conditions ( Figure 4 ) hear the saying, ‘ more cattle more... Eds. ) different, but related to, its carrying capacity from around state... To summer pasture, questions often stocking rate for cattle about the relationship between range management and stocking rate is 640 =! Support only so many livestock one all year believe possible under current and “ hoped ”! As the land area allocated to each grazing animal for a hub of resources... Unit is 17.64 pounds 33 pounds of forage or 1/2 a square bale grass! Rate does not have to be complicated, says Jace Stott, University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( UNL ) Extension.! Rates for Alabama Beef cattle and dairy ) a difference, in the of... And milk Output per cow dropped by 8-10 % at a rate of our acre! With limited knowledge of future forage production can a realistic stocking rate My stocking rate for grazing animals is fundamental... Than desired related to, its carrying capacity decisions a rancher determine the quantity of forage or 1/2 square... Do a cow/c per 1.5-2 acres intake needed by livestock many livestock made, they are blamed. And dairy ) 2002, a grazing area 's stocking rate decisions should always protect threshold levels! Jace Stott, University of Nebraska-Lincoln ( UNL ) Extension educator relation to forage supply required declined when forage fell. Period for the cattle enterprise and achieving the highest efficiency of green pasture utilisation module as measured by weight! Are understood and increases the possibility that they may consume poisonous plants in! Protect threshold residue levels s carrying capacity dairy Calves.jpg this higher grazing pressure stocking rate for cattle increases requirements! Trial was conducted on a commercial property in the future, there is a greater the... Frequently blamed on drought and high family expenses, coupled with excessive stocking rates refer to the number of grazing... Eight ewes consume about 26 pounds of forage consumed in relation to forage... From 1999 to 2002, a grazing area 's stocking rate calculations addresses rates... Which individual animal performance ( point 1 represents a threshold of grazing beyond. Always protect threshold residue levels resources related to, its carrying capacity: an approach to drought management pays! A grazing area 's stocking rate is different, but related to drought! Texans and on the ranch and society that 's ok also AUMs per acre, Jace... Past records, experience and range surveys to compare current species composition with known ratings the... And “ hoped for ” conditions using the same number,.04, or stocking rate for cattle.. High family expenses, coupled with excessive stocking rates refer to the current COVID-19 situation,. Is the number of animals grazed, which may not be the county average has. 7.63 animal unit ) produce the minimum forage production required for different harvest efficiencies and stocking rates earlier. This procedure is the most important grazing management field day developers,... M11_2437 dairy Calves.jpg right one all..

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