Lesson 5. Grazier’s Arithmetic

beef cows and calves on pasture; photo by Edwin RemsbergDetermining the appropriate stocking rate for a particular grazing unit is a key decision affecting the profitability and viability of a grazing operation. Livestock intake and subsequent performance is very dependent upon forage available to the animal on a daily basis. Setting the stocking rate too low results in wasted forage and lost profit potential. Setting the stocking rate too high results in lowered intake and animal output and, very frequently, diminished profits.If a producer has been fairly successful in a traditional grazing system, a fairly good idea of appropriate stocking rate is already available. While in the long term carrying capacity will be increased with improved grazing management, do not expect to increase stocking rate substantially in the first year of a Management Intensive Grazing system.

Lesson 5 (continued)

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