Determining How Many Head of Livestock Your Field Will Support

| 3/18/2014 10:08:00 AM

Tags: livestock management, pasture management, intensive grazing, soil science, Missouri, Mary Jane Phifer,

Fall forage

Long lush forage after resting in August and September.  This is going into Autumn in style!

You start with a couple head of livestock because you know that one would be lonely, or you brought home a momma and baby. Then magically your herd became larger, or you added different animals. Now you are looking at your field and wondering “How many can I really manage?” Perhaps you have not even ventured into animal husbandry but are preparing and still you need to know, “How many head can my field carry?”

Googling around you come across terms like AUM (animal unit months), AUE (animal unit equivalent). Looking at the tables and worksheets you see fill in the blanks, division symbols, and it all becomes fuzzy.

The following is a very unofficial way we at SteelMeadow figure how many animals our fields can carry and for how long. We started by doing two things 1: we attending a three-day grazing school sponsored by the state’s natural resource offices and 2: we use management intensive grazing.

I would like to think that most states offer grazing schools through university extensions or state offices. Go, do, learn. It will be the best investment of your time. In Missouri we learned about stocking rates/densities, how to build watering systems, how to fence and assorted other topics such as field planting and soils.

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