• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

"Stocking rate creep"

A

Anonymous

Guest
Tally Time: Beware of “creeping stocking rates”
Kansas State University Extension | Updated: May 18, 2011


The number of cow-calf pairs placed on a pasture is often determined based on previous experience and/or conventional wisdom. One of the factors that easily can be overlooked in establishing stocking rates is cow weight.

Range scientists typically use a 1,000 pound cow with calf as the base definition of one animal unit and cattlemen often use 1,200 pounds to describe the mature body weight of their cows. However, the average mature weight of cows in the U.S. has changed in the last 20 years. If we use feedlot exit weights as a base and the relationship between hot carcass weight and mature dam weight, the estimated mature weight of the 1990 U.S. cowherd was 1,228 pounds compared to 1,386 pounds in 2010 (Table 1). Therefore, using 1,200 pounds for a cow in 1990 was accurate, but today using a weight of 1,350 or 1,400 pounds would be more appropriate. If the total number of animals per unit of land, per month has not been adjusted, then the pounds of animal per unit of land may have increased by about 150 to 200 pounds per animal. This scenario can be referred to as “creeping stocking rate.” For example, a particular pasture supporting 200 cow-calf pairs in 1990, with the cows weighing about 1,200 pounds each, equals a total stocking number of 240,000 pounds. If the number of pairs turned out every spring has not been changed, the actual stocking number today would be 270,000 pounds, an increase of 12.5 percent! This could have serious implications on long-term forage quality and quantity. To get a comparable stocking rate today versus 1990, using 1,350 pound cows, only about 178 pairs should be placed on the pasture.

As many producers make plans for the upcoming grazing season, they should weigh a few cows and give this some thought. It may lead to some difficult decisions, but the long-term sustainability of the forage base may depend on it.
 

Denny

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Messages
5,632
Reaction score
0
Location
Mn usa
Alot more variable's go into it other than mature cow weight. How has the climate changed in your area in 20 years even year to year availiable grass varies. Also as cattle genetics have changed and weaning weight's increased how much more grass are those big calves eating later in the grazeing season.I think being a grass manager will get you farther than a numbers manager.I've got more grass that I can graze this year and am working on renting more my wife say's I'm greedy to this I say yes.If you have grass you've got option's if you don't well you know the answer to that.
 

WVGenetics

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
255
Reaction score
0
Location
West Virginia
Denny said:
Alot more variable's go into it other than mature cow weight. How has the climate changed in your area in 20 years even year to year availiable grass varies. Also as cattle genetics have changed and weaning weight's increased how much more grass are those big calves eating later in the grazeing season.I think being a grass manager will get you farther than a numbers manager.I've got more grass that I can graze this year and am working on renting more my wife say's I'm greedy to this I say yes.If you have grass you've got option's if you don't well you know the answer to that.

Very true!
 

George

Well-known member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
2,344
Reaction score
0
Location
Indiana
I try to sell the maximum number of pounds of good beef per acre.

That is why I'm almost out of Charolis and have 70% angus mommas - - -a few years ago I had 15 of each and as a test devided the herd for winter feeding and it took 40% less feed for the Angus as compared to the Charolis and the angus cows had weaned larger ( by about 15 # ) calves.

My charolis seem to look better most all the time but I feel they are raising considerably less of a percentage of body weight and the Angus work harder to stay here.

If I can put more cows per acre and still get as big or bigger calves I want that number in my check book at the end of the year! Boy the Charolis sure look pretty though!
 

Silver

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Messages
5,144
Reaction score
13
Location
BC
George said:
I try to sell the maximum number of pounds of good beef per acre.

That is why I'm almost out of Charolis and have 70% angus mommas - - -a few years ago I had 15 of each and as a test devided the herd for winter feeding and it took 40% less feed for the Angus as compared to the Charolis and the angus cows had weaned larger ( by about 15 # ) calves.

My charolis seem to look better most all the time but I feel they are raising considerably less of a percentage of body weight and the Angus work harder to stay here.

If I can put more cows per acre and still get as big or bigger calves I want that number in my check book at the end of the year! Boy the Charolis sure look pretty though!

So now you've tried Angus, imagine the other breeds that do even better :wink:
 

George

Well-known member
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
2,344
Reaction score
0
Location
Indiana
I had Angus for decades but got out of cattle all together while I pursued other interest but about 10 years ago I was looking to get back into cattle and I found 15 Charolis at a reasonable price so I got them.

I then found 8 Angus hiefers the following year and 10 more after that. I lost one Angus and let my son purchase a couple which left me with 15 / 15

My son how has 1 Herford because my grand daughter thought the red and white cows are so beautiful. She was bred to an Angus and produced a black baldie hiefer. She is just to calm for me. I think if she had had a bull I could go out and throw it on the ground in front of her and casterate and she would not raise her head!

Calm is good but this is just to much of a good thing. We will see how her calf does.

My son is thinking of a Polled herford bull as he has gotten request for black baldie hiefers. Time will tell how this works out.

I might just have a problem as the Charolis I bought were weighing about 2,200 # as three year olds. My Angus are about 1,400 # at the same age - - I would like them to be more in the 1,200 # range but they are pretty good over all!
 
Top