General guidelines as to the expected observed results of the properly managed application of HSD grazing at increasing stock densities as it relates to the variables of selective grazing, grazing distribution and animal impact. Overgrazing will significantly reduce animal performance and can cause long-term damage to a forage base via reduced yield in future years. In the January 2016 News and Views, there is an article titled ”Potential Mob Graziers Should Consider Precautions.” The focus is on ultra-high stock density (UHSD) grazing, which is the management tool of using grazing livestock in much higher than normal concentrations to achieve landscape-focused objectives with the long-term goal of enhancing soils, forages and livestock production. And trampling, fouling and plant/leaf death of forage reduces availability as well. And we think these cows weigh 1,200 pounds. 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The magazine is published monthly with a sizeable portion of articles unique to Canadians. Forage cost for cow-calf producers has increased dramatically in recent years, in part due to fewer acres of forage produced (due to competition from feed grains) and considerable drought throughout the U.S. To achieve profitability, producers must closely evaluate how efficiently forages are used by their cows, including during the grazing season. The most relevant base level indicator of whether the productive use of Hunter region grazing lands can be sustained is whether it can support a functional cattle unit i.e. I encourage you to go for a two to three-day rotation and perhaps even for a daily rotation. Grazing managers can influence or control the season, frequency, duration and intensity of grazing. There is many things to consider, you don't want too many cows for your land! The most effective application is where one uses a temporary electric fence intentionally constructed as required to address each unique situation and achieve the desired outcomes. In a sense, it provides the “guard rails” for deciding on how many cows to run, impact of increasing harvest efficiency, the number of cows to increase or decrease due to high or low precipitation, etc. Slopes greater than 10 to 15 percent can drastically reduce grazing, and cattle will often not travel more than two miles to water. Intensive grazing is generally characterized by stocking densities – 50,000 to 150,000 animal pounds per acre. It looks like our rule-of-thumb held up pretty good, 11 cows on 20 acres, is 1.8 acres per Unfortunately, cattle aren’t able to consume 100 percent of the forage available in a pasture. It will make your pasture last longer and reduce the incidence of internal parasites in the goats. emailProtector.addCloakedMailto("ep_9a036c8e", 1); Jason K. AholaemailProtector.addCloakedMailto("ep_fc6c56fe", 1); Associate Professor Beef Management Systems Colorado State University. © Copyright 2020 Progressive Cattle. University of Nebraska Extension Educator Terry Gompert says, “The objective is to create a major disturbance and then move on and give the pasture an extended period of rest — up to a year or more — before it is grazed again.” And what is the effect on the land? Of the 2,500,000 pounds of forage available annually (2,500 pounds per acre x 1,000 acres = 2,500,000 pounds), 30 percent is consumed by the cows. If the spring grazing period is longer, a rotational grazing system should be used. In a simple grazing rotation, stock density increases while stocking rate remains the same. Table 3 provides some suggested paddock sizes (acres per AU) for rotational grazing. It is the intentional application of grazing livestock in higher than normal concentrations to achieve landscape-focused objectives. And the operation uses a simple rotation grazing system in order to have 30 percent harvest efficiency. Unless you have a hundred acres for four or five goats, consider rotational grazing. The higher the stock density, the more flexible the producer must be with his or her management and usually the gentler the cattle need to be. The AUM calculations for forage demand are: 100 cows x 1.2 AU x 6 months = 720 AUM 4 bulls x 1.5 AU x 6 months = 36 AUM 5 replacement heifers x 0.7 AU x 6 months = 63 AUM Total AUMs needed = 819 AUM. That means we should be able to have 10 to 13 cows. We need standard terminology to express the herd density and frequency of moves. If harvest efficiency has been improved through the implementation of a properly managed grazing system, multiply total AUM by the guideline multiplier value found in Table … Further, soil type can alter forage yield as well. Recovery is dependent on the severity of disturbance and the intensity of grazing. If you decided to graze your 100 head of 1400-pound cows for only 2 months, you could graze your … Most of the HSD grazing applications are deployed to enhance soil health and improve pasture condition. 0.1 acre/AU x 50 AU = 5 acres in each paddock Create an open forum for industry discussion and an easy-to-read magazine of expert information about the beef industry. If the property was managed such that each of the 50-acre pastures were subdivided into 10-acre paddocks for grazing, stock density in each paddock would be five cows per acre (50 cows divided by 10-acre paddock), or 6,000 pounds per acre (1,200 pounds per cow multiplied by five cows). Typically, harvest efficiency on most operations will be 25 to 30 percent if continuous season-long or simple rotation grazing management is used (Table 2). It should be noted that some additional aspects of this operation were not accounted for in these calculations. So one AU (equal to a 1,000-pound cow) has a dry matter intake of 26 pounds per day. It is usually expressed in pounds of live-weight per acre at a given moment in time. Ultimately, it’s important to maximize animal performance without damaging the forage resource base over time. Let’s assume we have a 1,000-acre operation that has an average annual yield of 2,500 pounds of forage per acre based on NRCS data. With stocking densities between 100,000 to 500,000 lbs or more of body weight per acre, animals are usually moved several times per day. This base is the animal unit (AU) system in which feed intake is defined on the basis of a standard animal: a 1,000-pound cow. This is impractical on most operations. It is assumed that a 1,000-pound cow consumes 2.6 percent of her bodyweight in feed daily (on a dry matter basis). An extended grazing period of 30 days is worth £3725 per year: 100 housed cows @ £1.25 for 30 days = £3725 saving Case study : Matt House - Increasing the amount of grazed forage Find out how Matt dealt with the challenges of … High stock density grazing begins when cattle are combined into a single herd and moved through multiple pastures within a management area whereby pastures are grazed and rested (allowed to recover) in a managed approach. ... on the animals you can graze per acre, and therefore on your wallet. This amount can be converted to an AUM basis by dividing total forage available by 780 pounds (the amount one AU consumes during one month). It may occur all year or it may occur just during a certain period or season of the year. Example: The herd will graze each paddock for 3 days when 1000 pounds of pasture are available. When applied during the course of many years in a well-planned and managed approach, total forage production can be enhanced. We use Facebook Pixel and other cookies to optimize user experience. Influence more uniform grazing utilization of pastures by strategic fencing, forcing utilization of areas that are avoided or grazed disproportionate to production. All Rights Reserved. Differences in government policies and climate make Progressive Dairy – Canada useful to subscribers up north. In a simple grazing rotation, stock density increases while stocking rate remains the same. A quicker (but much more crude) method of predicting forage yield is by using estimates available through the USDA based on soil survey data. However, HSD grazing doesn’t have to be applied at the extremely high intensities often considered to be “mob” grazing whereby multiple moves per day are required. A functional cattle unit was upheld in the Archibald vs. Scone Council Land & For additional information, review our Privacy Policy. It is grazing with intention and purpose. Cattle have to be moved (rotated) to a fresh paddock more often, depending on the amount of grazing forage that is available and the amount of forage residual desired to remain after the grazing event. These timely themes deliver information relevant to forage producers and other forage professionals to help them be more successful and profitable in their areas of operation. How many cows per acre will fit on my land? Mob grazing is actually a tool … Multiply that times 300 head of cattle, and it … Continuing on with our business of ranching series, we take a look at how we determine how many cows the ranch can support along with grazing … Calculating an operation’s carrying capacity should be done annually to account for predicted fluctuations in forage availability and to improve overall profitability. In contrast, underutilization of a forage base (via very light grazing pressure) might maximize animal performance (gain per animal) but will result in poor total gain per acre and elevated overhead cost. The general rule of thumb is that 100 pounds of bodyweight equals 0.1 AUE (animal unit equivalent). Rotational Grazing. The USDA’s NRCS Web Soil Survey provides a reliable estimate of forage productivity for land all across the U.S., see (Table 1). After having practiced rotational grazing or MIG for decades, I can assure you that the management is indeed intensive. ... Kelsie is from southwest Missouri … Cows like to roam and graze so they need a lot of room on a farm. Therefore, 1.16 animal units per cow x 2 acres per animal unit = 2.3 acres per 1,150-pound cow. Rotational grazing systems are generally the most efficient way to get the best use of pastures and maximum beef production per acre, as well as being healthier for the land and plants. Ask the Consultant: Rainfall, soil and plant communities spark the beef ecosystem, On the Edge of Common Sense: Pleasure horse, Poll: Ranchers shoot for improvements in 2021. “I do know I average around 7 tons per acre of feed. Substantial research has shown rotational grazing to have many benefits, including improvements to soil fertility and health, reductions in hay feeding, increased stockin… The yield data provided by NRCS is for all forage produced during an entire year. Plus, another information you will need is the daily … For instance, in grazing cattle, the distance to water and amount of slope present can both contribute significantly to harvest efficiency. This equals 750,000 pounds of forage that is available per year on the … These range from a large dairy farmer who rotationally grazes 1,600 head on his 2,100 acre all-grass farm to much smaller dairy, beef, sheep, hog, and even chicken operations. A few simple steps can be taken to determine carrying capacity and to compare forage supply with demand. The net effect is more productivity per acre at less cost. Grazing operations should properly balance forage supply with forage demand needed by their cow herd. ... Stock densities of 3 to 5 cows (or their equivalent) per acre … Some argue that stocking rate – the number of animals per acre of land over a period of time – is the predominant driver of profitability on many cattle operations. The stocking rate remains 50 cows per 500 acres. With experience, the tool of stock density becomes much easier to apply. I consider myself, among other things, a former horse mechanic. Historical knowledge of an operation can help to determine likely forage yield per acre, including past stocking rates, but it can be inaccurate at times. Each issue of Progressive Forage contains articles which focus on a particular topic area within the forage industry. Also, the tank should hold a minimum of 25% of the herd’s daily water intake or 500 gallons (100 cows X 20 gal per head per day ) which would require 10 foot diameter tank that is 2.5 feet deep. Assume 100 1200-lb dairy cows eating 3 percent of their body weight grazing for 1/2 day on pasture with 2,000 lb of dry matter present per acre (Table 1) of which they consume 70 percent. Before increasing stock density above what is achieved from implementing a well-managed grazing program, ask yourself what you wish to achieve. Rotational grazing (RG) has been promoted by many land-grant universities and USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) for a number of years. Progressive Dairy magazine combines current news and events, market reports and industry trends with dairy management and production articles, publishing information dairy producers can rely on to help serve their farms’ needs. The greater the stock density, the greater the impact upon a resource. Source(s): Farmer and a university-trained farming expert. Another consideration is that while production per cow is less, the number of cows per acre on the pasture can increase. At higher stock densities, trample structural components to provide additional organic material to the soil surface or to disturb exposed soil surfaces, stimulating new plant recruitment and production, or vice versa. Unfortunately, forage yield per acre can be highly variable year-to-year, due mostly to variation in the amount of precipitation. Rotational grazing involves the frequent movement of groups of stock through a series of paddocks and allows small landholders to decide when and for how long a pasture will be grazed and … Factors such as previous grazing management, forage species, age of stand, soil type, texture, fertility level and moisture conditions all impact forage yield and consequently … The greater the degree of impact, the longer the recovery period required. a breeding herd of 40 cows. The purpose of HSD grazing is multifaceted. High stock density (HSD) grazing is very similar and is inclusive of UHSD grazing by definition. If done poorly, it can be very damaging. “Up at Joel’s farm in his county they measure the grass in what’s called 'the average cow days per-acre.' Frequency and duration of grazing have to do with how often a pasture is grazed, how long a pasture is grazed and how long it is rested between g… Rotational Grazing Systems. “Even though I no longer own the cattle, I think rotational grazing under irrigation is still more profitable than corn right now, considering cattle prices,” he says. 1.0 acre/AUM in the 15-19-inch precipitation zone, and 1.5-2.0 acres/AUM in the 10-14-inch precipitation zone. Thus, it is crucial that operations properly balance forage supply with forage demand needed by their cow herd. Soils, forages and ultimately livestock production the course of many years in a simple rotation system... 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Program, ask yourself what you wish to achieve landscape-focused objectives since forage is. Disproportionate to production the pasture or paddock size, multiply the suggested acres per )...

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