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5 cows, 30 acres-rotation advice?

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Well-known member
Jun 9, 2015
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southern Oklahoma
Need some advice on a starting point. I'm in southern Oklahoma w/ about 30 acres in native (but pretty good) grasses. No grazing in 10+ years and been slowly clearing the brush. I've got basically a big rectangle w/ water tank in the middle and plenty of portable electric fence. My initial plan was divide into 4 quadrants and rotate. Here's the catch-I need to size the paddocks appropriately to rotate weekly (or longer), based on my work schedule. I'm completely new at cattle ownership and I'm sure eventually I'll figure out by just observing grazing patterns what pattern works best for my place, but where would you start? Is 5 cows rotating weekly through 8 acre paddocks a good starting point or should I make them smaller/larger? Always appreciate the advice/thoughts on this forum!

Also, just to throw this into the mix. I have an additional 20 acres that I'm not planning on initially grazing. It's patchy cedars/native grass and sloped but I'm thinking about stockpiling this area for winter grazing.


Well-known member
Jan 11, 2011
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Northern KY
I would start by figuring how many rotations you want to do in a year. Then divide your paddocks up with that in mind. For example, lets say you want to do 5 rotations per year and let's assume your grazing season is 7 months (210 days) long. Each rotation across the entire 30 acres should be 42 days or 6 weeks. If you want to move once a week, then you would need to give them access to 5 acres each week. Every 6 weeks, you should be back at the first paddock. I think that would be a reasonable starting point - at least based on how the grass grows here. Adjust from there!

I read something by Jim Gerrish that he had a recommendation for how many rotations per year based on the average annual rainfall your area receives. I can't remember the exact breakdown. I do remember that in an arid climate (10" of rain per year), it is 1 or 2 rotations per year. In a wet/humid climate (+30") per year, it is 6-7 rotations per year. My understanding is that is over the growing season. I usually shoot for a 40 day rotation length.

Son of Butch

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2010
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Frost Bite Falls, Minnesota
4 paddocks (north, east, south, west) 7.5 acres each

10 day moving cycle = 30 day recovery time per paddock and 40 days to complete one cycle from start to finish
12 day movement = 36 day recovery and 48 days to complete one cycle
14 day = 42 day recovery and 56 days to complete

Start with first paddock and see how many days before they need to be moved, 9 days might be better than 11 ect.
rain fall may dictate only 8 days in one paddock, but allow 14 in another... I think you'll just have to try it and see.

30 acres has a way of shrinking to 29 rather than growing to 31.
I have a 20 that only measures 18 but the state says it's a 20 bcs they give me the privilege of paying property tax
to the center line of the bordering highway. (my land, but their use... the greatest benefit for all don't ja know)
Now the county came through 2 weeks ago saying everyone on my side of the highway has to push their fields back another 4-12 feet to be incompliance.

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