Posts by Alli

How much land do you need to purchase?

How much land do you need to purchase?

By on Jun 24, 2016 in Blog |

This is a very common question and the answer depends on a few things. Most people like the idea of having enough land to graze animals, so that will be the focus of this post. When discussing how much land an animal needs, you would first calculate the production of the pasture and the intake of the animals. That calculation will tell you the “animal units” your pasture can support. For the sake of this post, we will simplify this equation a little bit. A steer is a little less than one animal unit. A horse is a little more. Sheep and goats are about half an animal unit. So what does that mean? Again, without getting into the technical calculations, if your pasture consistently grows mostly grass that your animals will eat, it can support a certain number of animals units. The average usually ends up being about an acre per horse and cow and about half an acre per sheep or goat. The number of animals you have per acre is called the stocking rate. When looking at farm and ranch real estate to purchase, take not if a certain stocking rate is mentioned. This can give you some clues about the productivity of the property. Summer Feed From Pasture Grazing Now let’s talk about the major “if” of the previous paragraph. If your pasture grows grass. A pasture that is going to support animals must be mostly grass. If it is weeds, they won’t have adequate feed. If it is partially weeds, you need to have a plan to get them under control or they will eventually overtake your pasture. If it is dirt then it isn’t a pasture. You will need to plant an appropriate seed mix and wait at least a year before putting animals on your pasture. If it is a legume, like alfalfa or clover, you’ll need to replant to a grass-mix or inter-seed grass into the land to avoid bloat issues. Effective Grazing Strategies Maximize Land Use Having a grazing strategy is important for a couple reasons: It will make the pasture you have more efficient and, if needed, it can allow you to increase your stocking rate slightly. A grazing strategy simply means the way...

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