Stocking Rate – Should I Be That Concerned? Volume 3: Other Factors to Consider in Managing Stocking Rate

This area used to be completely covered by King Ranch bluestem. Under grazing management the last nine years, which has included a reasonable stocking rate and rotation grazing, high quality native grasses are beginning to establish. The two larger plants in the foreground are Indiangrass, and Little bluestem is establishing in the background. The increased diversity of grasses benefits both livestock and wildlife. No seed was applied. (Photo courtesy Tony Dean)

By Tony Dean

The decision a rancher makes on stocking rate has both short and longterm effects on land, livestock and economics of a business, making it essential a rancher have knowledge regarding correct stocking rates. Fortunately, Tony Dean is sharing his knowledge regarding stocking rates in a four part series. Read below for the third segment in “Stocking Rate – Should I Be That Concerned?

My useable acres?

When making a decision on carrying capacity, we should inventory our pastures to get an idea of “useable” acres. Most of us have acres that livestock will use very little, if at all, for grazing, and we should not count on these areas for grass production.

For example, dense brush is of little grazing value due to very poor or no grass growth. In some instances, producers consider using some form of brush management and/or grass seeding to increase cover of perennial grasses. However, this can be an expensive process and the benefits and costs should be carefully thought out.

Where brush is or is likely to be a problem, producers should consider developing an “annual maintenance” philosophy, and treat a portion each year to spread the cost out rather than wait until the solution seems too great to address.

To read more pick up a copy of the August 2019 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.