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Stocking Rate Questions

A recent Purdue graduate is wanting to start a dairy in north-central Indiana.  240 acres of the family farm are already seeded with an alfalfa/orchardgrass mix that has an average height of 12 inches and provides 90% cover.  The new farmer has decided to split the acreage into 70 paddocks.  She has learned that there will be about 180 days of good grazing and plans on her 1,400 pound cows averaging an intake rate of 4%.  She assumes that there will be four grazing cycles because that will allow grazed paddocks to rest for about 30 days between grazing.  About how many lactating dairy cows will her land support?


2. Every year Walter has had problems estimating how many days he will be able to graze his boarding horses.  His farm is divided into 8 paddocks of cool-season grasses.  Previously the grasses have been maintained to an average height of 8 inches. The farm is situated on 60 acres overlooking the Ohio River.  There is only about 65% cover due to past overgrazing.  Walter plans for his 1~1,100-pound horses to have an intake rate of 2%.  Currently he is boarding 20 horses.  How long will he be able to utilize his pastures? Does he need to need to change anything to improve his rotational stocking system?


   3. Farmer Brown moved his cattle to 4-10 acre paddocks of switchgrass on his beef farm.  The 40 acres were previously enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.  He moved his cattle to help reduce the summer slump of cool-season forages. Farmer Brown is hoping that switchgrass will have an average height of 18 inches and about 80% cover.  An important item for Farmer Brown to remember is that warm-season prairie grasses should not be grazed below 6 inches in height.  Currently his herd contains 60 600-pound stocker calves.  Assume an average intake of 3% body weight.  How many days can he graze the switchgrass?



For more forage information contact Dr. Keith Johnson: johnsonk@purdue.edu

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