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Your Grazing Chart – Figuring Animal Needs

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.

Our Grazier Guy knows that we can do better than this.

He’s seen that management can make a lot of difference

He's seen that management can make a lot of difference

Now he’s ready for the next step.

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.)

Here's the front page of this easy to use form.

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's the back page of the form.


Here are some pictures that give you an idea of how much forage might be in your pastures.

No Forage

150 lbs DM:Acre

200 lbs DM:Acre

300 lbs. dm:acre

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.

Continued 4

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.

Grass Whisperer PPT Equine Example

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!

Here are links to all the articles in this series:

So Ya Got a Blank Grazing Chart. Now What? 10/21/2013

Setting Goals for Your Blank Grazing Chart, 10/28/2013

Creating Your Grazing Chart, Mapping Your Pastures, 11/11/2013

Your Grazing Chart – Figuring Animal Needs, 11/18/2013

Quickly Estimate Pounds of Dry Matter in Pasture, 11/25/2013

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Troy Bishopp
Troy Bishopphttp://www.thegrasswhisperer.com
Troy Bishopp, aka “The Grass Whisperer” is a seasoned grazier and grasslands advocate who owns, manages and linger-grazes at Bishopp Family Farm in Deansboro, NY with his understanding wife, daughters, grandchildren and parents. Their certified organic custom grazing operation raise dairy heifers, grass-finished beef and backgrounds feeder cattle on 180 acres of owned and leased pastures. Troy also mentors farmers on holistic land management for the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition as their regional grazing specialist. This award-winning free-lance writer, essayist and photographer maintains a website presence at www.thegrasswhisperer.com

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