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RSL

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That's an interesting question for all regions on this board...
 

Soapweed

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On a "normal" year, our particular ranch takes nearly 30 acres per cow/calf unit per year. Many ranches in this area do better than that, but we have some rough old South Dakota hills that aren't real productive. It messes up our average.

This year with the late freezes, grasshoppers, and very little rain, it will probably take double that to run a cow/calf unit. We'll know more how it went by this time next year. :wink:
 

Faster horses

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An old cowboy that had ranched for many moons over closer to Billings, Mt.
was asked the question, "How many acres does it take to run a cow?" by a fellow that was interesting in buying an adjoining ranch.

His answer was "5 sections. Sometimes 4 but mostly 5."
Of course he was exaggerating, but it was hilarous the way he said it.
 

PATB

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We are running around 2 acres pasture per pair including the land conversion project (clearcut forest land). It takes 4 to 5 acres per pair for the years feed. The number acres required should decrease as the fertility on most of the haygound is increased and land conversion project starts producing more.
 

LazyWP

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It is all about the ground. Here on the river, we figure about 20 acres per pair for 5 months. Last year we were able to stretch that out to 6 months. This year to make 5 months, the calves are going out next week.

On our north place, its a short 11 acres per pair for 5 months. Again last year we stretched it to 6 months, and this year, we should make 5, by weaning the calves in early September.
 

Zilly

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When you guys say it takes x amount of acres per pair, is that just for grazing? Or is it x number of acres for grazing plus x number of acres for hay? And one more question, if you can get two rotations a year out of a pasture, does that change your acres per pair figure?

Example: Say it takes 10 acres to graze a pair, but you only have 5 acres and that's divided into two 2.5 acre pastures. You rotate the pair through each pasture twice, which gives 10 total acres.
 

lefty

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Its all about the ground is right . for pasture from 5 to 15 acres for the season , sand ground & timber 20 or more . We figure 10 acres per cow hay & grazing .
 

LazyWP

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For me that is just grazing. I am sure for Soap, that includes what it takes to make it 12 months. All of his grazing, plus what it takes to put up hay to winter his cows.
Part of Soaps problem is all those lakes he has. He would be down to 15 acre per pair, without all of them. :D
 

efb

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Here in NE TX in a normal year it takes about 5 acres per year. But if we don't have a normal year pretty soon may have to adjust that number up quite a bit. The big drawback here is we have to fertilize to keep our pastures and hay meadows productive. Gets pretty costly.
 

Soapweed

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LazyWP said:
For me that is just grazing. I am sure for Soap, that includes what it takes to make it 12 months. All of his grazing, plus what it takes to put up hay to winter his cows.
Part of Soaps problem is all those lakes he has. He would be down to 15 acre per pair, without all of them. :D

You are right about the lakes, Lazy WP. They are not good for much of anything, and they are too akaline to even support fish. The lakes are even obstacles to "go around" every time we go to our north pastures. The state of Nebraska in its infinite wisdom does see fit to make us pay taxes on the lakes.

The thirty acres includes summer pasture, winter range, and hayground, and in other words, all the land it takes to support one cow and her calf for one year

Zilly said:
If you can get two rotations a year out of a pasture, does that change your acres per pair figure?

We do practice a "modified" rotational system, and it might "stretch" the grazing to a certain extent, but you still need the same amount of available grazing to run the same amount of cattle for a year (in the Nebraska Sandhills). To my notion, rotational grazing in our area is quite "over-rated," and on a year like this with very little rain, it has no merit whatsoever.
 

Big Swede

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I have to disagree with you Soapweed. Right along the highway my neighbor has 15 dry fall calving cows on 160 acres. The grass is short and brown. Across the highway I grazed 420 pairs for 7 days and those 320 acre paddocks get 60 to 90 days of rest before they get grazed again. My stocking rate is usually 8 acres per pair for 6 months. Those pastures are have quite a lot of regrowth and green grass for no more rain than they have had. The difference on each side of the road is remarkable. So I would say rotation has a lot of merit.
 

RSL

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Since I posed the regional question...
We are obtaining roughly 75 AUGD per acre on our tightly managed rotational stuff (2 acres per cow for 5 months), but this is roughly 3 to 3.5 times more production that the "set it and forget it" system that is more prevalent in the area where you turn your cows out and go gather them up. On our deferred native grazing we are often running at 2AUM but again that is more than 3 times what is common with the other systems in use. Most folks figure 15 cows to a quarter of native for 5 months.
These are all 1000 pound cow adjusted (our cows are closer to 1150 average).
For us timing is everything and it really pays when it doesn't rain. We always aim for lots of carryover grass.
 

Jake

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We are 5-6 acres per pair depending on the ground. Some of it could probably get to 3-4 acres per pair if we could get the cedars under control and rotational graze everything.
 

eatbeef

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Pasture we don't rotate is 7 acres for 5 months and on a good year there is way to much grass and on a dry year like this there is still adequate grass.
On pastures we rotate we can get by on 5 acres per pair for 5 months and like mentioned by Big Swede the rotational pastures are almost still lush green and the ones that we just stock for the summer are pretty well burnt up but still plenty of dry grass. We rotate them every 7 to 10 days. One pasture that we have split 6 ways we just now came back to the first pasture we grazed may 1st.
 

4Diamond

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No lush green pastures here, doesn't matter if you rotational graze or not. 30-40 days over 100 zap it. The best and most respected graziers are feeding hay now, it has taken it's toll on EVERYONE.

I believe that a system with multiple pastures will pay off once it begins to rain. A person will be able to allow pastures to build up and not have cattle roam the entire farm.
 

jodywy

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high moutain meadow valley with out my forest permit with irrigated and sub irrigated meadows, dry farm alfalfa on the uplands my place is a touch over 6 acres /cow/year that grazing and hay.
 

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