How much pasture

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by cybercat, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. cybercat

    cybercat prowler of the internet

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    Hello all,

    Dh and I are planning on buying some land to grow our own food. I am trying to figure out how much we really need. What would be the minum that we could get away with for our plans.

    My question is how much pasture does one cow need? We are planning on pasturing the cows most of the year. I want to make sure we have enough plus enough to grow winter food.

    I have read that a cow with calf needs 3 1/2 acreas is this right?

    Thanks
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Depends on where the land is located. I do rotational grazing here in NC, zone 7, and I did not have to feed the first bale of hay to the commercial beef herd this winter. I am able to carry a cow/calf pair on a single acre during the growing season of the grass. I actually need about 1 1/2 acres per cow to see her through the entire year and her calf through until it is in the 450 lbs weight range. I am having to stockpile grass in the pastures in the fall to get through the 90 day period when the pastures are dormant. It is necessary to keep the fertility up and the ph correct in order to maximize the grass growth but I am convinced this is the only way to produce beef in zone 7. It is a relief to know that when it is wet and cold that the cattle are harvesting their feed on their own and I am not having to put out hay in the mud. The savings are terrific by letting the cows do the work.
     

  3. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I would suggest that if you are going to do it wisely, you figure your stocking ratio on the most recomended grass not the least. In calculating on the least amount of grass you can suffer a drought or other unforseen difficulties that would leave you buying feed.
     
  4. cybercat

    cybercat prowler of the internet

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    TY Agmantoo,
    That helps alot with my planning. How are you diving your acreas for rotation? As I said in homestead bb we are looking at TN. I know NC used to live there near charlotte also had a place in hendersonville.

    OK so I am guessing we could do this with 4 acreas max for 3 animals. He wants 2 dairy cows and one bull to breed them then butcher afterwards. We will not keep a bull on the property after it is bred for long. I do not want that kind of trouble.

    Oh how much field would we need to harvest for winter? I am thinking same as pasture for cows 4 acreas. I know you get alot of hay off that many.

    Tamara
     
  5. PezzoNovante

    PezzoNovante Well-Known Member

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    I suggest you price round bales and evaluate the cost of buying vs growing / fertilizing / spraying / cutting / baling / storing.

    Growing your own also assumes that your hay pasture is in excellent condition.

    In addition to hay you will also have to feed protein in the winter.

    The county extension agent can tell you what the AU ratio is for your area. Cattle also need a lot of water.

    We run ten steers on about 40 acres with three ponds. There have been years when we've had to let them graze on the yard due to drought and other times when I've had to use the brush hog to keep the pastures clear.

    I don't over-winter however, but sell in the fall and buy in the spring.
     
  6. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    cybercat , I responded to you ? over at the main forum also. I do not think you saw that reply.
    With my rotationaly grazing I do not make hay. Instead, I stockpile the grass in the pasture where it grows and I let the cattle do the harvesting. This keeps the equipment expense at minimal and uses the growth to maximum. For 2 cows and a bull plus the offspring from the cows you would have 5 head and to carry five head yeararound I would consider 7 to 8 acres. If you calve in the Spring and sell early fall then 5 acres would suffice.