Corn field to pasture

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by FutureFarm, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. FutureFarm

    FutureFarm Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking at a piece of land in central Illinois that is currently a cornfield. For the past three years, the field has averaged over 200 bushels/acre. Assuming I plant the right pasture mix and manage it well, how many pounds of animal do you think each acre could support?
    I know the standard answer is it depends. Here's a little more information on the weather in central IL.
    http://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/peoria/illinois/united-states/usil0935
    The plot has a gentle slope with well draining soil. There's a small creek at the border of the property that does run dry if it doesn't rain for a few weeks.
    I've been looking for pasture stocking rates for the area, but haven't found anything real useful. Maybe someone here can give me some insight.
     
  2. Clayjunky

    Clayjunky Well-Known Member

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    As we look at land, I've been using this -----> a little more insight than the standard 1x cow per acre or 4-5 goats, etc..

    https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb1097070.pdf
     

  3. FutureFarm

    FutureFarm Well-Known Member

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    I saw that article the other day. I don't know how many tons of forage the land will produce though. Do you know of some calculation that could predict how many tons of hay per acre land will produce, given bushels per acre of corn?
     
  4. Clayjunky

    Clayjunky Well-Known Member

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    Well that's something else I've looked and you may have found this article as well-clearly you have fertile land so the calculation "may" be higher due to numerous factors,but I think this should give you a good idea.



    https://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/forages/rotational/articles/PDFs-articles/calculating-hay-yields.pdf
     
  5. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is something that you can't master from a 2 minute youtube video.

    I understand you have top notch corn ground. Are you keeping livestock off until the pasture mix is well established? The first year the grasses will just be starting to fill in.

    Put the livestock too early and you are behind the eight ball the rest of the season. Rotational grazing helps, too. A dry summer changes everything, too. You'll often have too much pasture in June, too little in August.

    I'd think that good Illinois corn ground is above $5000 an acre. Might be better to grow corn, sell it and buy hay.

    Lets say you managed it well and grew 3 ton of forage per acre. Take the moisture out to get a dry forage number, you are a bit over a ton. Cattle need 3 pounds of feed to grow a pound. So, in one season, an acre can grow 2 calves from starting weight of 300 pounds to butcher, 1000 pounds. Add in ground corn and minerals, vaccinations, wormer, fly protection and some hay to start the season.