10 best ways to get more cattle on the same pasture

How can you get more cows on the same amount of grass? South Dakota State University specialist has answers for beef producers.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersWant to go broke real quick? Just follow all ten of these to the letter. 

Well, maybe it is not quite that bad but there is certainly not much here in the way of “new or different ways of thinking.” So think about it as a list of things to NOT do or even think about at least until you have finished building 100 paddocks.

 Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual The market may be telling beef producers that it’s time to amp up the herd. But pastureland resources are a limiting factor for many, says Warren Rusche, South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewThis challenge requires new or different ways of thinking. Rusche shares 10 options to consider for increasing the amount of forage for a beef herd, or feeding more cattle on the same amount of land.

How can you get more cows on the same amount of grass? South Dakota State University specialist has answers for beef producers (Thinkstock)
How can you get more cows on the same amount of grass? South Dakota State University specialist has answers for beef producers (Thinkstock)

Make better use of existing pasture

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits1. Fertilize when appropriate. For introduced, cool-season species in planted pastures this can be an effective method of increasing production.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)2. Rest, rotation, and grazing management. Introducing rest periods into a grazing system can improve plant vigor and resiliency and may allow for more head days per acre.

3. Improve grazing distribution. Improved water access or moving mineral feeding sites encourage cattle to find underutilized areas.

4. Match grass growth patterns with grazing pressure. Utilizing pastures at the correct stage of production.

Reducing Demands on Pasture

5. Early weaning of calves. Early weaning saves the forage that the calves graze and reduces the nutrient requirements of the cows.

6. Supplemental feeding on pasture. Substitute harvested feeds or by-products for grazed plants.

7. Reduce/eliminate pasture entirely (drylotting or semi-confinement). Use low-cost, properly supplemented crop residues based diets to replace summer grazing.

Develop New Grazing Resources

8. Annual forage options. Crops such as small grains, millets, and sorghums can be planted as part of a crop rotation with grazing livestock used as the harvest method.

9. Cover crops. Cover crops are especially useful to extend the grazing season into the fall.

10. Crop residues. Vastly underutilized feed resource in the crop growing regions of the Midwest and Plains.

“This list is by no means the last word and there are certainly other potential solutions,” Rusche notes. “These are simply a starting point in the conversation for ranchers that are searching for alternative systems to expand or maintain their business.”

Want more grazing tips? Check out The Graizer’s Art and The Grazier’s Gazette on Beef Producer.com.

Source: SDSU

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

You might also be interested in the supplement to this Handbook: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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