How many cows per irrigated pasture ?

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Lrj505

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Neighbor is letting me use his pasture free of charge. 3 acres of permanent pasture. PSture is about 6-8 inches tall now. How many cows can it support ? I have 4 early bred cows I was thinking of leaving . Or I have 4 thin. Ones that I just bought that need more weight. Thanks . Pasture gets flood irrigated every 3 weeks.
 

Katpau

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There are too many variables to answer this, but I have some thoughts.
I don't like to graze a pasture down too tight as it will do permanent damage to the plant roots, so you really only have a few inches to graze. Three acres is barely enough for 4 cows in most cases.
Is this pasture green new growth? If you repeatedly re-graze new growth on a perennial pasture you will also do permanent damage. Regrowth will start 3-4 days after grazing and you don't want them coming back and re-grazing the same plants. Even an annual can be killed before it matures if you don't leave enough leaf to recover. Of course, if this is an annual and it has already seeded out, it won't hurt to graze it down since it is already dead or dying. Grass that mature won't have much feed value so I would not put in cows that need to gain. In that case I would graze the early breds, assuming they are in good condition.
What is the temperature? Even with moisture most grasses won't regrow in high temperatures. (85+) Without seeing the pasture or the cows (in person) I don't know which I would put there. It may not matter. I would not leave them in for very long. I would watch it and as soon as the grass looks like it is getting to be shorter than 4 inches on average, I would pull them off and move them to another pasture.
 
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Lrj505

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Older pasture. I have 3 open herfords that need extra weight or a couple early bred pairs and couple steers. I plan on selling one of the pair steers in Oct. and was concerned about the mom breaking out if I serperate them at the pasture. Fence is good.
 

Katpau

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By older pasture do you mean mature grasses?
I did not realize the early breds were nursing calves. This pasture may not meet the nutritional needs or either a nursing cow or an underweight one. Hard to say without seeing the actual pasture.
 

Dave

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Don't graze while flood irrigation and for a period afterwards. Doing that will pug the soil and definitely have a negative impact on the plants. Start grazing at about 12 inch plant height. Move them off at 4 to 6 inches. Never graze below 4 inches.
 

darcelina4

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every pasture is different. I would be sure to put out some high mineral if you put thin cows out on lush pasture. I have a 2 acre pasture that surprisingly has quite nice grass with 16 head on it. 3 -2 year.olds in milk, 6 yearling heifers, 7 calves. But they also have a round bale of grass hay and get grain everyday. As the cows (2 jersey) are working as nurse cows I must feed then grain To properly maintain them. Last summer the same pasture had 8 yearlings (1 bull, 7 heifers) that only ate one round bale a month and no grain. But then there is my horse pasture 6 acres. It is purely entertainment as it is grazed pretty short. They get hay year round and most get grain. Raising foals or old. If I were you I would put the skinny ones in there and see how it goes. Feed them a bunch of hay right before you move them into it.
 

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