When planning out your grazing it’s critical to get an idea of how many animals your land will support. You’ll start to realize your pastures are feed inventory like a barn full of hay. No hay in the barn, No options.
Our Grazier Guy knows that we can do better than this.
He’s seen that management can make a lot of difference
Now he’s ready for the next step.
Here is a form that I use every day and with all kinds of farmers and ranchers. To download the form shown below, click here, then scroll down to Grazing Worksheets and Charts and click on “Grazing Planning Worksheet Draft.” (Thanks to Central New York Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. for providing this link.)
Yes, animals will eat more or less than 3% of their bodyweight and yes your land will produce more or less depending on your fertility levels, management, weather and a myriad of factors but we have to get baseline knowledge, especially if you’re a new farmer.
The next part of the form lets you use your soils information as a way to figure out how your soil types will affect forage production. (You can also use the Natural Resources Conservation Services “Web Soil Survey” online tool to find out your soil types and get estimates of forage production. Here’s an On Pasture article that describes how.)
Here are some pictures that give you an idea of how much forage might be in your pastures.
Here we look at how much your animals need, how much your pastures produce and how many acres that means you need per day, depending on how often you want to move your livestock.
This part of the form helps you figure out how many days of rest your paddocks might have, once you fill in the acreages you got when you were mapping your place.
So there’s what the form looks like when it’s filled out for the Bishopp Family Farms. Now, here’s an equine example. Just click on the picture to see it larger so you can look at all the details.
I know this form seems too simple, but it’s a start/ballpark. It has yet to fail me after all these years.
Next, we’ll put it all together!