Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Guidelines for Setting “Proper” Stocking Rate K. Launchbaugh UDSA-ARS.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Guidelines for Setting “Proper” Stocking Rate K. Launchbaugh UDSA-ARS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Guidelines for Setting “Proper” Stocking Rate K. Launchbaugh UDSA-ARS

2 Natural & Human Resources Grazing Management Decisions Community Response Climate Topography Veg. Community Wildlife Mgmt. Philosophy & Goals Livestock Species cattle, sheep, goats or horses Stocking Rate how many animals Grazing System season of grazing season of rest duration of grazing Vegetation Community Livestock Production Wildlife Community Important point: Once grazing management decisions are made, there are continual interactions between livestock, wildlife, & vegetation

3 Four Grazing Mgmt Factors:  Which animal? -Animal Species & Class  How many animals? -Stocking Rate  When to grazing or not graze? -Grazing System  Where animals graze? – Grazing Distribution

4 Carrying Capacity The number of animals that a piece of land can support on a long-term basis without causing damage to the ecosystem. Land and vegetation determine grazing capacity Expressed as animals/area/year (usually acres per AUM per year) Land is usually bought and sold on this basis

5 Stocking Rate The number of animals a land manager places on a piece of land for a specified period of time. Must include: Number of animals or Animal Unit Specific area (acres or hectares) Specific period of time (days or months) Most important grazing decision because it affects: Rangeland health Economic returns

6 Animal Unit (AU) 1,000 pounds of grazing animal … ruminant AUE#/AU Cow = 1 1 Horse =1.8.56 Yearling Steer =.75 1.3 Sheep=.2 5 Jackrabbit =.02 50 Animal Unit Equivalent (AUE) = A conversion factor reflecting the # of AU in an average animal ** See assigned reading from more examples

7 Forage Demand of Animal Ruminants  Eat 2.5% of body weight/day in dry matter of forage.  Cattle, sheep, goats  Deer, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, etc. Hind-Gut Fermentors  Eat 3.0% of body weight/day in dry matter of forage.  Horses  Rabbits and rodents

8 Animal Unit Month (AUM) n Amount of forage an AU will eat in a month – How many pounds is this?

9 Animal Unit Month (AUM) n Amount of forage an AU will eat in a month – Grazing ruminant animals eat about 2.5% body weight per day. – 30 days in month – How much is an AU?

10 Animal Unit Month (AUM) n Amount of forage an AU will eat in a month – Grazing ruminant animals eat about 2.5% body weight per day. – 30 days in month – How much is an AUM? Each AU = 1,000 lbs ×2.5% = 25 lbs/day AUM= 25 lb * 30 days = 750 lbs

11 Proper stocking rate? Range Health standpoint

12 Basis for Stocking Rates Proper stocking based on maintaining sufficient plant residue for: ◦ Plant health/regrowth ◦ Wildlife forage ◦ Erosion prevention Set stocking rate below carrying capacity ◦ To allow for drought ◦ To allow for low productivity years

13 Utilization Guidelines: Based on ecological research % Use of Major Plants 30-40 40-50 30-40 Range Type Sagebrush grasslands Shortgrass prairie Coniferous Forest Oak woodlands

14 Root Response to Defoliation

15 Importance of roots Remove the Leaves ----- Affect the Roots

16 Root Responses to Defoliation 50%70%90% Level of Removal

17 Root Responses to Defoliation Basis for “Allowable Use” or “Recommended Use” Levels Total Forage × Recommended Use = Usable Forage Supply

18 Heavy use ≠ Overgrazing  Overgrazing = repeated heavy grazing such that damage to the plant community occurs  Overstocking = heavy grazing during a specific season such that high levels of utilization are observable. Overstocking does not always lead to Overgrazing

19 For Rangeland Health: Set Stocking Rates Below Carrying Capacity  Healthy soil.  Slows weedy plant invasion.  Improves drought resistance.  Improves condition of degraded land.

20 Proper stocking rate? Animal Production standpoint

21 Stocking rate affects cattle gains:

22 Production per animal

23 Stocking rate affects total production: Production per acre

24 Proper stocking rate Bement 1969

25 n Desirable production per animal n Optimal production of animals per acre n What is “Desirable” or “Optimal” depends on the manager’s goals and objectives. For Livestock Production: Set Stocking Rates At or Below Carrying Capacity

26 How do you set stocking rate? Balance supply with demand Simple Four–Step Method

27 4-step or Forage Demand Method  Calculate usable forage  Adjust for terrain, water, or other constraints  Calculate forage demand of animals  Calculate stocking rate

28 4-step or Forage Demand Method The forage demand method is used:  When you have no stocking information from previous years  To estimate carrying capacity in biological surveys or land appraisal  When considering changes in kind or class of animals

29 Flexible vs. Constant stocking: n Amount of forage varies from year to year long-term average n Flexible - no more than 60% of herd in breeding stock n Constant - herd size that could be sustained if rainfall was 25% below average.

30 Establish stocking rate based on:  Past experience  Current situation  Long-range weather forecast  Financial goals  Etc.

31 Set a Stocking Rate and Then Monitor! With this method stocking rate is determined by trial and error over years and then monitored by:  Range Trend = changes in plant composition or rangeland health over time

32 Grazing Principles  Which animal -Animal Species & Class  How many animals -Stocking Rate  When to grazing or not graze -Grazing System Match number and type of animal to the rangeland vegetation, topography and climate

33 Grazing Capacity Summary  Use caution when estimating grazing capacity  Combine Utilization measurements Interpretation of current range condition Knowledge of past and present stocking  Monitor!  Adjust when needed!

Download ppt "Guidelines for Setting “Proper” Stocking Rate K. Launchbaugh UDSA-ARS."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google