Stocking prices in Texas differ from 1 cow per acre top top heavily controlled pasture in the Eastern portion of the state to 1 cow per 150 acre (4 cows every section) in the infectious diseases worldwide Pecos an ar of the state.

In this post I’ll provide you a variety of stocking rates for number of Texas regions and tell you just how to determine exactly how many cattle your land have the right to support, no matter where you room in the U.S.!

Cows every Acre in Texas
Texas Region Improved/Managed Pasture Native Pasture Woodland
eastern Texas 1 AU / 1-3 acres 1 AU / 3-6 acres 1 AU / 50-75 acres
Edwards Plateau 1 AU / 2-6 acres 1 AU / 10-60 acre 1 AU / 50-75 acre
Pan handle 1 AU / 2-6 acres 1 AU / 20-50 acre N/A
write-up Oak Savannah 1 AU / 3-6 acre 1 AU / 8-15 acre 1 AU / 50-75 acres
south Texas levels 1 AU / 2.5 – 8 acre 1 AU / 15-30 acres 1 AU / 35-60 acres
West Texas N/A 1 AU / 35-150 acre N/A
1 animal Unit (AU) =1,000lb cow through calf

For more articles around livestock and also cattle in Texas, examine out our Livestock Section.

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This topic seems to be among the most misunderstood topics indigenous landowners. Many new landowners rely on STOCKING RATE advice from next-door neighbors or native the male leasing their property to operation cattle. While there is something come be said for experience, I have actually personally seen this advice lead to over grazed pastures which look much an ext like parking lots 보다 fields.

QUICK DEFINITION: Stocking rate is characterized as the lot of land allocated to each pet for the grazable duration of the year. I.e. 1 AU / 15 Acres

How many cows will certainly your land assistance in Texas?

If you have actually livestock, or arrangement on running livestock on your property, it’s necessary that you know how countless head your property can support, well-known as her property’s Carrying Capacity. This is defined as the number of animals her property can support year after ~ year without exhibiting damage to the vegetation or related resources.

Understanding this number is important due to the fact that if girlfriend understock you will certainly not maximize livestock production. However, if friend overstock, your building will shed vegetation productivity, exhibit floor compaction, floor loss, a lose of wildlife diversity, and a host of other after-effects that have the right to take year to recover from. Overstocking will at some point reduce her property’s delivering capacity.

What is an animal Unit?

Livestock come in countless shapes and also sizes and include cattle, sheep, and also goats. Over there is large variability in the dimension of livestock also. Some livestock breeds are bigger than others and require more forage. Since there is together a variability in dimension for livestock, selection managers and also cattlemen usage a standardized term referred to as an Animal Unit.

An animal UNIT to represent a 1,000lb cow (with or without a calf under 6 month old). A cow the this dimension consumes 26lbs of dry matter forage per day or 9,490 lbs/year.

Dry weight is calculation by dry grass clippings in an oven until there is no moisture remaining. Think the 26lbs of dry hay vs 26lbs of new grass clippings.

If you would like particular dry matter demand requirements for cattle across a collection weights examine out this nifty Dry Matter need Chart for class of cattle.

It’s essential to recognize this concept due to the fact that as we work through calculating the moving capacity of your property, we will do so by calculating the variety of Animal units it have the right to support end a 1 year period.

We deserve to relate just how other grazers to compare to an animal unit just by looking at how much forage they require daily and prescribing them an pet Unit equivalent (AUE). For example, a mature goat will certainly consume about 5.2lbs the dry matter per work (1/5 the what a 1,000lb cow eats). So, a goat would have an AUE that (.2).

You can also deduce that 5 maturation goats consume about the very same as a 1,000lb mama cow, for this reason 5 goats equal 1 animal unit. The table listed below shows exactly how each type of breed cub converts come an pet unit.

Type that AnimalAnimal Unit identical (AUE)
Beef Cow (yr. Lengthy avg)1.00
Beef Cow (Dry)0.90
Beef Cow (Milking)1.20
Bull (Mature)1.25
Calf (Weaned)0.50
Heifers (13-18 mo.)0.70
Bred Heifers (19-24 mo)0.85
Steers (13-18 mo.)0.70
Steers (19-24 mo.)0.85
Horse (Mature)1.25
Ewe (Mature)0.20
Lamb (1 yr.)0.15
Ram (Mature)0.25
Goat (Mature)0.20
Bighorn Sheep0.20
Deer (Mule)0.15
Deer (White-tailed)0.15

How many cows will certainly my soil support? acres per Cow..

Now the you know just how much a cow eats and what an animal Unit is, let’s number out just how many animal Units your land can support throughout a 1 year timeline. I’m going to save this as straightforward as possible for you.

How much forage does your land produce?

The very first step in this procedure is come determine how much forage your land produces. This will count on the varieties of forage she growing and also how much rainfall friend get.

How lot forage will certainly you leave behind for regrowth?

It’s necessary to remember that you can’t utilize all of your land’s forage because that livestock. Some should be left behind to regrow year after year. A general ascendancy of ignorance is “Take Half, leave Half” an interpretation you must leave half of her land’s forage behind.

Results argues that forage production and also livestock productivity ($/acre) optimal by taking fifty percent of the forage and leaving fifty percent of the forage. Plants call for leaf area to metabolize and also restore carbohydrates to your root systems. Repetitively removing foliage will mitigate root vigor and also can at some point leading to death of the plant. I’ve included references ~ above livestock yield vs stocking rates at the bottom of this article.

How much forage provides it right into the cow’s stomach? use Rates….

You must additionally understand that not all forage removed will do it right into the cattle’s gut. About half of what is gotten rid of decays, gets trampled, or is consumed by insects. This is known as the utilization rate and must be applied in the formula below.

Formula to calculation Total annual Forage Available

Let’s work through an example, climate I display you exactly how to acquire a particular number for your land.

How to calculate exactly how many livestock to run on your Property? EXAMPLE

In our instance we have a 100 acre residential or commercial property with 50% hefty tree and brush cover. I have even included two scenarios, 1 where it’s obviously just 50% will be utilized and another much more common scenario where tree cover is spread out randomly through the property.

Example property with 50% coverExample building with 50% cover. In this scenario the that is more difficult to estimate total obtainable forage. Occasionally landowners would certainly associate forage manufacturing for 100 acre in layouts prefer this. In this case, the landowner might over estimate available forage.

In each case we only have 50 acres of available forage production. Let’s assume our forage varieties is a hybrid Bermudagrass that receives 30” that rainfall every year, fertilized double a year, and also yields 10,000lbs per acre annually. Don’t problem I show you how to estimate your property’s production below.

Since we have 50 grazeable acres, this would put our Total yearly Forage manufacturing at 500,000lbs (50 acre x 10,000lbs that forage production/acre). In this situation our formula would certainly look prefer this.

Formula calculating total easily accessible forage from example above.

Since fine take half and leaving half, fine multiply our forage manufacturing by a 50% and get to 250,000lbs the forage we are willing to eliminate from our pasture.

We must then main point again by 50% to account for lost forage and also trampling, described as utilization rate, which leaves us with 125,000lbs of full Annual easily accessible Forage. This is what we will allocate to our livestock.

Here is what our total yearly production looks like:

This is how total forage production from your property might be allocated.

How to Calculate delivering Capacity and also determine number of acres every cow.

Now the we understand your land produces 125,000lbs of available forage, the time come determine just how many animal units it will support throughout a 1 year timeline.


We divide the lot of our available forage by the known yearly consumption that an animal unit and arrive in ~ a total carrying capacity of just over 13 pet units. This place the stocking price of our 100 acre residential or commercial property at 1 pet Unit /7.7 acres.


Note: If we were fence in the 50 acre of open up pasture our stocking price for that pasture would be 1 pet unit/3.85 acres.

How to determine how many livestock YOUR land will support?

Now that we’ve worked out an example, I’d like to teach you exactly how to identify this number because that your very own land.

This is a 3 step process:

Step 1 – determine how numerous grazable acre you have

Step 2 – Determine how much forage her land produces

Step 3 – run the calculation above with known animal unit intake rates.

Step 1 – how to recognize the variety of grazeable acre you have?

Just due to the fact that your home is 100 acre doesn’t average you have 100 grazeable acres. Together in the example over you must not include areas not perfect for grazing or forage production.

Areas under hefty woodland, ~ above steep slopes (greater than 10%), and also fenced off from grazing must not be contained in this calculation due to the fact that your livestock will get tiny to no worth from these locations.

For huge ranches cattleman need to keep in psychic that livestock get nearly no use from areas further than 2 mile from the nearest water source, although this isn’t a difficulty for most landowners.

In the example over I show two separate 100 acre tracts, each v 50 grazeable acre arranged in two various ways. Do your best to account for areas with little to no grazing value and also make certain they’re excluded from her grazeable acre so girlfriend don’t end state her property’s forage production.

Use tools such together google earth’s polygon device to determine complete grazeable acres. Girlfriend can also have a local NRCS Agent, Agrilife extension Agent, or Texas Parks and also Wildlife Biologist help with this.

Step 2 – exactly how to determine just how much forage her land produces?

OK, step 1 to be easy, the tricky component is really knowing just how much your land produces. This will differ wildly relying on where you are in the state, what varieties of forage (grass) is in her pastures, and also how girlfriend are controlling it. Don’t worry. Over there is many of help out over there to obtain you this number.

I’ve noted 3 choices here the will assist you out.

You should know that there is a scientific an approach that entails clipping a sequence of square meter plots throughout the year, drying them out, weighing them write-up drying, and also extrapolating the values across the rest of your land. This is how the office of Land management (BLM) determines exactly how many livestock can be operation on the leased soil in the western part of the country.

There are 3 much easier methods to determine exactly how much forage her land produces. (NRCS or Agrilife, WebSoil Survey, published manufacturing results)

Option 1 – Estimating forage manufacturing from the NRCS – net Soil Survey

One of my favorite tools to call Landowners about is the net Soil Survey. That a totally free online tool noted by the USDA-Natural resources Conservation business (NRCS) and it provides method more information than simply soils data.

Historically, if you want to learn about soils, annual rainfall, or pasture performance on your ar you would have actually picked up a copy of the ar soil inspection at the regional USDA – NRCS (used to be soil Conservations business SCS) office and thumbed come the map that included your property. Now all of that details and more is obtainable at your fingertips.

It will also give you mean production worths of native and also introduced grasslands. The net soil inspection basis this info on soil type and typical rainfall.

Screenshot of Websoil Survey

I’ll short article a tutorial on just how to use this amazing tool later.

Option 2 – speak to the organic Resources conservation Service

Did you understand there is a government agency specialized to help landowners like you through questions prefer this? Their duty is to provide unbiased details to assist you best manage her land. Through the way, it’s a cost-free service. Well, it’s funded by taxation dollars so free is a relative term, but you acquire the drift.


NRCS agents room knowledgeable about soils, wildlife, rangeland management, breed boy production, and crop production. Uncover your regional office by clicking HERE and select the ar your home resides in. Friend can frequently arrange to satisfy an certified dealer onsite in ~ a couple of weeks.

They’ll satisfy you on your property. Once onsite they’ll to walk your residential or commercial property with you and talk come you around which tree you have onsite, how much they produce on an annual basis and will help you determine your fall rate. Castle will understand what fall rates various other landowners approximately you room running and also should provide you a an excellent indication the what your land will certainly support.

A NRCS certified dealer can additionally discuss which price sharing program are accessible in her area and also if she a good candidate because that one. The agent have the right to also help make a map that your residential property with an overlay of various soil types. Similar to what you’ll execute by using net Soil Survey.

I participated in one internship because that this company for 2 summers when in mine undergraduate routine at Texas A&M. I have the right to tell you the they space all knowledgeable folks and my suffer was really positive v this organization.

Option 3 – (TX Only) speak to Texas Agrilife Extension


Another cost-free service obtainable to Texas landowners is the Agrilife expansion program. Much like the NRCS, this firm is devoted to help landowners. Lock respond to separation, personal, instance questions and will come out to your property and visit through you around your land.

Click here to start the process!

Step 3 – operation the calculate on your property

Use the example above and include data from your property


I an extremely much hope the you discovered this short article helpful! This info is simply scraping the surface of a really in depth science. Forage production is greatly researched roughly the world, as are livestock production and gains. I’ve had several helpful references below to aid you on her journey.

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We have a ton of various other resources accessible here because that you. You re welcome feel cost-free to inspect them out.

Resources and Citations

I learned rangeland ecology throughout my undergraduate and also graduate program at Texas A&M University. There space a variety of amazing people and also resources the will help you on your way. Right here are a few that helped me top top mine!