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Small acreage

 
Cory Berkey
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Thanks Chris for answering questions! I live in northern indiana and have 6 acres of pasture. I would like to put some heifers on it and breed them every year. What I'm wondering is how many cow/calf's can be kept on 6 acres and if I was moving them daily would I want to divide the pasture into 30 paddocks or how many paddocks? I understand that location, pasture quality, etc determines both of these but for someone starting out, what would be a good starting point? I know that you have to watch the cows and grass to zero in on size of paddocks and time allotted in paddock but I need cows to do that so that is why I ask what is the best number of cows and size of paddock to start with for me to learn. Thank you very much.
 
Chris Stelzer
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Cory Berkey wrote:Thanks Chris for answering questions! I live in northern indiana and have 6 acres of pasture. I would like to put some heifers on it and breed them every year. What I'm wondering is how many cow/calf's can be kept on 6 acres and if I was moving them daily would I want to divide the pasture into 30 paddocks or how many paddocks? I understand that location, pasture quality, etc determines both of these but for someone starting out, what would be a good starting point? I know that you have to watch the cows and grass to zero in on size of paddocks and time allotted in paddock but I need cows to do that so that is why I ask what is the best number of cows and size of paddock to start with for me to learn. Thank you very much.


Cory that is a good question. I would contact your county extension agent or NRCS office and ask them how many acres it takes to feed one AU (animal unit) for a year. Initially, I would suggest maybe one or two head, at most while you are starting out. You can always build up to maybe 4-5 later, but start slowly and minimize your risk. Is there any other pasture nearby that you could possibly lease? Also, you might consider some hair sheep or goats, if you have good fencing.
 
Thomas Pate
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I have 7 acres about half wooded hillside and half open land all of which has been my zone 5 for a few years now. I want to raise animals there at some point. I can't decide on sheep or a browsing type cattle. Would 2 or 3 pineywood be able to thrive on a plot this small without external inputs?
 
Chris Stelzer
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Thomas Pate wrote:I have 7 acres about half wooded hillside and half open land all of which has been my zone 5 for a few years now. I want to raise animals there at some point. I can't decide on sheep or a browsing type cattle. Would 2 or 3 pineywood be able to thrive on a plot this small without external inputs?


It all depends on your management. I can't answer that question and I don't know too much about piney woods cattle, sorry. I'd start with 2 smaller cattle and see how that goes.
 
Lm McWilliams
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Location: USDA Zone 5
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Thomas Pate wrote:I have 7 acres about half wooded hillside and half open land all of which has been my zone 5 for a few years now. I want to raise animals there at some point. I can't decide on sheep or a browsing type cattle. Would 2 or 3 pineywood be able to thrive on a plot this small without external inputs?


Thomas - If anyone in your area runs Pineywood cattle, they might be better able to give you an
estimate on how many of those type cattle you could run on the piece of land you have in mind.
Cattle supposedly originated as forest, or at least savanah, creatures, but now browsing cattle
are something of a specialty.

If you have enough land, have you thought of running both sheep and cattle? Then you could
take advantage of the benefits of multi-species grazing. It could be fun to run a unique landrace
breed like Florida Native/Florida Cracker sheep along with your Pineywoods cattle.

 
David E Green
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This is one of those depends questions...depends on breed, soil fertility, pasture compostion, rainfall, etc. In our area, 2 cows to the acre typically works with typical management. We have about 60 head on 65 acres, but most are calves or yerlings.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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