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cow/calf units per acre

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rowdyred

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when I was in high school I remember the ag teacher saying that around here (north Mississippi) 1 cow/calf unit per 2 acres, I know it has to do with where you live, what is the unit per acre where you live?
 

plumber_greg

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I learned it was one unit per three acres, but with intensive grazing I have upped it to one unit per two acres. Could do more, but I now do a lot of winter grazing that wasn't a thing to do in 1971.
 

cowboy43

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Central Texas- brushy and native pasture land, 5 to10 acres to cow but after 2 years of drought I have 11 heifers on 300 acres and was still feeding till we had 4 inches 2 weeks ago , A lot of ranchers have sold out and because of their age and the economics of the cattle business they will never restock. and one local sale barn has gone out of business after being in business for 50 years. With the city reaching out into our county and so much ranch land be subdived I am afraid ranching in the county is on the decline. The best black farm land is now under pavement and houses, we are slowly be squeezed out by growth
 

1982vett

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Have always gotten by with a cow to 3-3.5 acres. Now I'm running a cow to 4.5 acres. Usually bale around 120 - 160 acres for hay. Last year I baled only 58.
 

dun

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The part that is misleading or incomplete is the time frame that any given acreage can support a unit. It the timeframe strictly the grazing season or does it encompass a 12 month period and address the hay requirements (stockpiled forage) for the winter.
 

Alberta farmer

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dun: you are right about the time frame thing. Comparing a 5 month grazing season to a 10 month one certainly will make a difference.
In central Alberta our grazing season can vary from 6 months to 8 months. Generally on a combination of rough native pasture and some older non fertilized tame pasture we are in the area of about 2.8 acres/cow. Throw in some aftermath crop grazing and it can be lower.
This past year we stopped feeding hay May 7 and started again Dec. 14. Usually snow has us feeding earlier than that. Since about Apr. 15 we have been feeding 2/3 rations as we had some native grass that wasn't used up last year and the cows are out grazing some of that.
We value our pasture at $1 day/cow/calf and actual cost to feed cows in winter was 26lbs hay/day at 2.8 cents and 10 lbs. good straw at 1 cent/lb. for about 83 cents/cow/day. Moderate cross bred cows around 1350 lbs. start calving May 1.
 

Jim62

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I can do 1 au per acre, but that is with buying hay from outside sources. If I made the hay here on the place, it would likely be 1 au per 1 1/2 or 2 acres, I think. Either way, you gotta be alert and move 'em around when the time is right.

This is in south-central Texas.

I think the au/acre calculation is for maintaining the animals for a full year, generally including winter feeding. At least that's the way I do it.
 

bigbull338

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we run 1 AU to an acre depending on the time of year.right now we are running close to 100hd on 140acs.an the grass is so far ahead of them it isnt funny.an have 75acs that they are never on.as well as 120acs of hay meadows.then another 60acs they dont graze.
 

rowdyred

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bigbull338":hj3fkx2a said:
we run 1 AU to an acre depending on the time of year.right now we are running close to 100hd on 140acs.an the grass is so far ahead of them it isnt funny.an have 75acs that they are never on.as well as 120acs of hay meadows.then another 60acs they dont graze.

how heavy do you fertilize?
 

bigbull338

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havent put any fert out in over 30yrs.an havent put out any lime in over 30yrs.most all the pasture is coastal.cut 60acs hay meadow once a yr an get 180 to 200 5 by 6 round bales.dont feed hay till 1st hard frost or the grass is gone.
 

bigbull338

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im in north east texas 100mi east of dallas.right between dallas an texarkana.
 

dun

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Jim62":1nx3e7ex said:
I think the au/acre calculation is for maintaining the animals for a full year, generally including winter feeding. At least that's the way I do it.

That's the way I figure it too.
 

dyates

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Depends on how much money you want to pour into it. Counting hay, I'm running about 3 acres per animal unit. I could spend less on fertilizer and that number would go up. I could spend more and it would come down. I just about laughed myself out of my chair when I looked at the USDA soils information about how many animal unit/months I should be getting. According to them, I could run a pair on 1.5 acres. I would sure shake the persons hand that could show me how.
 
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