Skip to main content

Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage

Stocking Rate

en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Damon Pollard
March 17, 2022

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension-Burke Center. Today’s topic is Stocking Rate.

Stocking rates are positively related to forage health. Overstocking stresses forage stands and eventually leads to low producing pastures.

When talking about pasture stocking rates, we can lump all livestock together by converting them into the concept of an animal unit. An animal unit is based on the beef cow and her calf, which is one animal unit. The bull is also one animal unit, as is one horse. Sheep and goats, due to their small size, take 6-8 head to equal one animal unit.

It generally takes 2-3 acres to support one animal unit in hay and pasture. If hay is cut elsewhere and brought in it reduces the acres needed. Acreage needed can also be reduced through improved pasture management and improved forage varieties. A really good manager can support one animal unit on an acre and a half.

Stocking rates as high as 2 animal units per acre are present in Burke county, and not even weeds can produce in this setting. Two acres per animal unit allows producers to mitigate drought and reduce hay feeding days as more grazing days are available and forage could be stockpiled.

Pasture management is more complex than just putting the right number of head on the right number of acres, however, getting the stocking rates right is basic to any good management system.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension-Burke Center. If you’d like more information, call us at 764-9480.