Signs You Need to Adjust Your Stocking Rate

Last week Troy Bishopp shared his worksheet for figuring out how many animals you can run on the pasture you have. Stocking rate isn't an easy thing to figure, especially if you the pasture's you're grazing are new to you That's why Troy reminded us that the results of the worksheet are an estimate. So, how do you know if your estimate is good or not? Brian Hays of the Noble Research Institute shares this great list of things to watch for: Bare ground and/or brush and weed encroachment. If you see any of these things increasing, it's a sign that your stocking rate is too high or you're not allowing adequate rest before returning to graze that pasture again. The body condition score of your stock isn't where it should be. If the BCS of cattle drops below 5.0 to 5.5, stocking rates may need to be reduced to make sure animals are getting enough to eat. Here's an example of cows at different body condition scores. You can learn more about body condition scoring here.   You're feeding more hay than planned over the winter. If you planned to feed hay for three months and actually have to feed for five instead, you are overstocked by at lest two months-worth of grazing, or 16.67%. Not only is this hard on your bottom line, its also hard on your forage. It's future production will be reduced as well. Figure your stocking rate every year Hays sa

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