Post by elizabethr on Oct 20, 2011 16:18:10 GMT -5
Ok, gonna need alot of patience on this one lol, since I am still in the process of learning.
While sitting at home I got the brilliant idea to raise miniature zebu cattle (average adult weight between 300-600lbs). Do I have experience with cattle? No. Do I plan on acquiring one YES. So why go from wanting one cow..to raising cattle? Well..I know for a fact that I won't be able to have just one.. I love the breed, and have been gobbling every bit of info I can find to educate my self about them..however.. I still need to understand/ figure out land management, supplemental feeding, ect.
I realize I am jumping the gun, but I really want to get into raising and showing zebu cattle. And having quality cattle for sale on the west coast could help me pay for the associated expenses of ownership. It seems like a good idea--especially since I found five acres of affordable land in northern arizona on the prarie.
Thinking perhaps too far ahead in the future lol..I would want to be able to have at least 40 animals (ages from adult to babies) comfortably grazing.
My cattle would have very good grazing during the spring, summer and fall months. I know I will have to give hay in the winter, but if they are grazing for a majority of the year on pasture approximately how many cattle could I possibly have on 2.5 acres (if I divide the pasture for rotation)?
Or better yet, what factors should be considered and how can I find out more information on the subject so I can better understand the leap I would be making?
I would talk to the ag extension agent in the county where you plan to have your herd. He should be able to answer your questions specifically for that area. And I would visit with as many zebu breeders as possible prior to getting any. Good luck with your venture!!
Where I'm at in Nebraska, it's 1 cow per acre. Where I lived in Texas, it was 10 acres per cow. (For mini's I'd double the "cow count".)
Much will depend on where you live, and what your climate/growing season is like. If you toss 40 cattle on your 2.5 acres I guarantee all you'll have is a dirt lot sooner than later.
I only have one acre, but have a 'sacrifice lot' where the shed/water/hay/salt/minerals are. The cows get rotated on the acre....and next door on a half acre. It takes planning (and education to my spouse!) to not get my little pasture overgrazed. Janene
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For a normal sized cow (1000 lbs +) I've heard the minimum amount of space for grazing is 1 well watered, lush green acre per cow. A dexter cow (which is over 600 lbs ) could comfortably graze on 1/2 acre. It really depends on how good and well-watered your pasture is. I have seen recommendations for up to 20 acres per cow! No, you won't be able to have 40 600lbs animals keep 2.5 acres green and grassy. And probably not 40 300 pounders either. I wouldn't recommend putting any more than 3 (maybe 4 depending on size) per acre and that may be pushing it. Of course if you want to do it feed lot style you could put all 40 in 2.5 acres but don't expect green grass anywhere or nice smells! I hope I more or less answered your question ~Anika
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Post by farmeratheart on Oct 23, 2011 18:51:55 GMT -5
There are too many variables in climate, soils, pasture plants, water, etc. to give a simple answer. I have to agree w/ farmergirl 97 that 40 head on 2.5 acres is not gonna work for long if you plan on grazing for the majority of your feed. I had 2 minature horses on 15 acres and without careful rotation they would overgraze. Sorry no easy answer
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It wouldn't hurt to start with less animals than your expected maximum and to learn to graze them at a high density first (small, daily rotated paddocks). If you end up with more feed than necessary, you could graze it into the winter as stockpile instead of feeding as much hay. I don't know how Zebus would fare there though. Then there's always the chance of hitting a drought or grazing your pastures too short before a dry period so they die out. If that happens, you can't expect much fall growth (or as much growth the next spring). Having some extra grass and not needing to hit a paddock again as soon as it's rested enough works as drought insurance. Try to learn as much from your first year as possible.
My land capacity for YEAR round grazing is 3-5 acres per cow depending on rainfall....and I already have well established pastures in a generally wet climate.
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