You Can Lease Land for Winter Grazing and Make More Money

At the end of his SARE-funded project looking at the possibility and profitability of winter grazing in the Northeast, farmer Ridge Shinn concluded that a farmer could afford to pay $100 per acre to lease pasture/hay land to graze during the winter and still spend less than the $500 dollars per acre it would cost to feed hay. For the trial, Shinn quit mowing and grazing paddocks at mid-summer in order to stockpile enough forage for the winter season.  From November 1 to February 21 his cattle grazed these paddocks.  Quantity and quality of the stockpiled forage and body condition of the cattle were monitored and then compared to the quality of forage and body condition of animals fed balage and hay.  Cattle body condition was comparable (6.63 for grazing cattle and 7 for balage-fed).  Though the stockpiled forage quality declined over the course of the trial, at the end of the trial in February, it was still as good as or better than the balage and hay. When Shinn began adding up the feed costs here's what he found: Group 1 included 5 cows and 3 calves.  They were fed fifty-three, 1,000 pound bales with about 50% dry matter.   At a cost of $50 per bale, feeding costs were $2.93 per head per day. Group 2 (the Stockpile group) was made up of 15 cows and 12 calves and they ate about 30 pounds of dry matter

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2 thoughts on “You Can Lease Land for Winter Grazing and Make More Money

  1. Nice article. It works even better for sheep with a 5 month gestation. With the inclusion of two and one half months where the pregnancy demands are not that high, sheep can be grazed for six to seven months at near maintenance levels. So set your lambing in the spring, stockpile grass, and watch your bank account grow.

  2. Many producers do not realize what cows can do on their own. They do not have to be babied. Let a cow be a cow. She got by thousand years without man. Every thing you do for her is a costly input that comes directly off your profit line.

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