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How many cattle for 6 acres of pasture is realistic?

 
Joe Paul
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Hi all, we have 6 acres more or less of pretty decent pasture with some fodder crops (trees) that we are planting alongside the fencing and we are wondering how many cows (at least one for milk) would be too many for such an area if we want to avoid bringing in hay. We live in a climate (New Zealand) where it doesn't snow but can be prone to droughts during the summer.

I am hoping the answer is somewhere along the lines of 3 or 4 without too much trouble but the question then becomes, how to balance it properly so we have meat evenly distributed throughout the year?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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If you are drought prone I would personally start with the fewest possible (say, two, so they can keep each other company) and rotate them carefully. Best not to overstock initially. As the land improves, you can add more, or add different species, if desired.

Here in my drought-prone region, we can only carry 1 cow (or one animal unit) per about 25 acres.
 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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The number of Animal Units (equivalent to a 1000 lb cow) varies a lot. Even within a given US state, as this shows: <https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/archive/streeter/2006report/aums/Doing%20the%20Math.htm>. That's maybe a bit more complicated than you need, but it reflects that one needs an idea of how productive the land is to make a good calculation.

Have you considered some other kind of animal? In New Zealand, it seems sheep would be an obvious alternative. At an average of .2 AU per sheep, you could keep a larger group and have your meat spread out over the year. Pastured pigs might be another possibility.
 
Bill Erickson
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chip sanft wrote:The number of Animal Units (equivalent to a 1000 lb cow) varies a lot. Even within a given US state, as this shows: <https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/archive/streeter/2006report/aums/Doing%20the%20Math.htm>. That's maybe a bit more complicated than you need, but it reflects that one needs an idea of how productive the land is to make a good calculation.

Have you considered some other kind of animal? In New Zealand, it seems sheep would be an obvious alternative. At an average of .2 AU per sheep, you could keep a larger group and have your meat spread out over the year. Pastured pigs might be another possibility.

I fixed the link for you.

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/archive/streeter/2006report/aums/Doing%20the%20Math.htm
 
chip sanft
Posts: 331
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Bill Erickson wrote:
chip sanft wrote:The number of Animal Units (equivalent to a 1000 lb cow) varies a lot. Even within a given US state, as this shows: <https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/archive/streeter/2006report/aums/Doing%20the%20Math.htm>. That's maybe a bit more complicated than you need, but it reflects that one needs an idea of how productive the land is to make a good calculation.

Have you considered some other kind of animal? In New Zealand, it seems sheep would be an obvious alternative. At an average of .2 AU per sheep, you could keep a larger group and have your meat spread out over the year. Pastured pigs might be another possibility.

I fixed the link for you.

http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/archive/streeter/2006report/aums/Doing%20the%20Math.htm


That's the same URL, friend.
 
Andy Moffatt
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Location: New Zealand
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Ask your nearest farming neighbour, they'll know how the local feed curve and stocking rates that are appropriate for you
We're in Dunedin and are moving to Masterton and have saanen goats for milk, much less hassle than a cow and 3-4 litres a day is still alot
 
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