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Old 03-22-2011, 05:19 PM   #1
Walking Eagle
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Default Cattle per acre in South TX???

As a rule of thumb, I'd like to know how many cattle per acre would you put on a South Texas ranch around Freer? Place has never been grazed, has a stock tank, but don't plan on supplemental feeding.

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Old 03-22-2011, 05:24 PM   #2
Low Fence
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Its not cows per acres.but acres per cow.

On a good year I'd say 1 cow for every 8 acres.......but what I've seen this year is closer to 15+ with NO SUPPLEMENT
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:48 PM   #3
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Its not cows per acres.but acres per cow.

On a good year I'd say 1 cow for every 8 acres.......but what I've seen this year is closer to 15+ with NO SUPPLEMENT

X2
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:56 PM   #4
Encinal
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As a rule of thumb, I'd like to know how many cattle per acre would you put on a South Texas ranch around Freer? Place has never been grazed, has a stock tank, but don't plan on supplemental feeding.

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:31 PM   #5
bowhuntertex
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1 cow to every 8-10 acres......
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:50 PM   #6
M16
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On my ranch the answer is the same as Encinal. Can you say O. At most 1 per 50 acres.

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Old 03-22-2011, 07:02 PM   #7
JMG
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1 to 20 acres. All depends on what the ranch owner to raise, cows or deer.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:20 PM   #8
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The ranch Im hunting on is a working cattle ranch. They are running about 1 cow per 15 acres. I wish we didnt have any.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:04 PM   #9
Encinal
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The ranch Im hunting on is a working cattle ranch. They are running about 1 cow per 15 acres. I wish we didnt have any.

so.... a deer to 25 is the old "rule" for deer carrying capacity in S Texas unfed... and here we have something that weighs 8-12 times MORE per 15... lol
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:10 PM   #10
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???
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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none--zero--nada000-no; but hell no
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:02 PM   #12
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It depends on your goal. Do you want to run cattle for profit, taxes, or wildlife? How long do you want to keep them?

If for profit, then run 1 to 8, year round.

If for taxes, run 1 to 100, year round and rotate if possible.

For cattle to benefit wildlife, you either need 0 or a high intensity short duration plan stocking 1 to 5ac after the fawns have hit the ground. The best way is to bring in cattle is only when your habitat needs it. The high intensity short duration plan would need cattle from around June or July to October or November. The springtime should be dedicated to wildlife. During a drought, then you shouldn't have cattle if your habitat goal is to benefit wildlife.

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Old 03-22-2011, 09:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peyton View Post
It depends on your goal. Do you want to run cattle for profit, taxes, or wildlife? How long do you want to keep them?

If for profit, then run 1 to 8, year round.

If for taxes, run 1 to 100, year round and rotate if possible.

For cattle to benefit wildlife, you either need 0 or a high intensity short duration plan stocking 1 to 5ac after the fawns have hit the ground. The best way is to bring in cattle is only when your habitat needs it. The high intensity short duration plan would need cattle from around June or July to October or November. The springtime should be dedicated to wildlife. During a drought, then you shouldn't have cattle if your habitat goal is to benefit wildlife.
Cattle for profit? Is this really possible? lol
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:19 PM   #14
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I ask because the landowner where I lease has never had cattle on it before. He is going to let a cattleman lease it and he said he was bringing in 40 head. This place is only 380 acres. Our little tank probably won't last long without rain and 40 cows sucking it down. Oh well, it's mainly a hog hunting place anyways.


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Old 03-22-2011, 09:44 PM   #15
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I am currently reading "The King Ranch" by Tom Lea. In it there is a rough quote by Captain King that says, "There's nothing wrong with South Texas that water would not cure". Guess it's still true. This book is a great read by the way.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Peyton View Post
It depends on your goal. Do you want to run cattle for profit, taxes, or wildlife? How long do you want to keep them?

If for profit, then run 1 to 8, year round.

If for taxes, run 1 to 100, year round and rotate if possible.

For cattle to benefit wildlife, you either need 0 or a high intensity short duration plan stocking 1 to 5ac after the fawns have hit the ground. The best way is to bring in cattle is only when your habitat needs it. The high intensity short duration plan would need cattle from around June or July to October or November. The springtime should be dedicated to wildlife. During a drought, then you shouldn't have cattle if your habitat goal is to benefit wildlife.

Peyton... I know the reasoning I've always been told about cattle being needed for forbes etc... but have you ever kept them off for a while?

They have been off of us now for 5 years... only thing that I am seeing an impact on is blue quail... which I regret... but hey... that means more fawn cover...
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:00 PM   #17
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how much is it gonna rain?
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:53 PM   #18
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I had a very good (long) reply typed up and my phone died! Got to love the iPhone! Thumb and brain are both tired so I'll try to keep it short.

Cattle are in my roots, but Wildlife is my job. I've been in and around production agriculture my whole life and now serve on the Hays Co Farm Bureau board and livestock board. I also outfit and book hunts for several ranches around the state of Texas, and handle business dev for Plateau Land & Wildlife Management. I don't say this to boast, but to try and establish minimal (I said minimal lol) credibility.

It's been my observation through real world on the ranch experience and lots of research that there are very few ranches south of 10 or west of 35 that will handle a stocking rate much higher than 1 AU per 15 acres on native forage. Most are realistically in the 1:20 range year to year on native forage without showing signs of overgrazing. You never want to stock to your maximum carrying capacity for a long period if time (>6 months?) because the range contusion will suffer and it takes much longer to build it back. Rotating high densities of livestock is a beneficial practice, and one I encourage, but not a yearround stocking.

As cattlemen and land stewards, it is always in our best interest to manage for quality forage. Use your cows to regulate the grass, rather than using your grass to feed the cows. Once we disturb an area with overgrazing, we encourage invasives like KR, Kleburg, and buffle. Not only are these low utilization grasses, but the dominate and choke out natives wich are necessary for quality habitat. Not only that, but the last thing you ever want to give a cow is a sack of cubes. That's direct $ off your bottom line.

I thought I was going to keep it short! Bottom line: Less cows, less overhead, less headache = more potential profit per head (with cows????), increased sustainability, and quality habitat.

That's my 0.02. I hope it helps.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:19 PM   #19
Peyton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Encinal View Post
Peyton... I know the reasoning I've always been told about cattle being needed for forbes etc... but have you ever kept them off for a while?

They have been off of us now for 5 years... only thing that I am seeing an impact on is blue quail... which I regret... but hey... that means more fawn cover...
We lost our Blue's about 10yrs ago when our Buffle caught on

For 24 yrs we had a momma cow op at about 1:50ac. The Buffle was planted in '84 and spread with them. In '08 and '09 we had gainer steers at 1:15ac from Feb to Nov. It helped keep the fields down, but during the hard times I know they were chewing on the brush.

I'm taking a 2+yr break on cattle until the drought breaks. Then I hope to bring in 600 steers from July to Oct and be done with them for a year or two.

One of these days I'm gonna Roundup most of the Buffle and plant wildlife beneficial perennials in it's place.

In starting with 80ac of Bundleflower tomorrow.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:20 PM   #20
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<<<<<has worked and lived in Freer Texas, you guys forget that God has to alow it to rain first in the county, used to be stocking rate was a animal unit to 50 or 100 acres and thats if the ranch had been stacked for a year or 2lol It dont rain in Freer enuff to use the book from Texas A and Mlol You did not mention if the 40 head were steers weighing 300 pounds from Mexico or cows weighing 1400 pounds with 10 month old calves on them either, makes a big difference. Now days cattle operators are in the grass combine business, it must have some grass and weeds on it or else they would not be leasing it unless its a scam to get cattle trucks in to load up weed in the hay baleslol Google stocking rate and animal units definition and ask the county ag guy what is the usual conservative stocking rate in your part of the county. Cattle operators nowdays are so driven by profit they will almost graze it down to the last blade of grass and gallon of water if the lease does not specilfy exactly what the stocking rate should be and wht type of livestok should be allowed on the place etc, steers are the only thing that can money down there usually, the smart cattle opperator will figure out there is enuff grass to make light weight steers gain so many pounds he needs for a profit and figure the place will not get rain so at end of so many days he will ship them to George West to market or somewhere to auction, cow calf down there is usually a losing deal since the climate is so droughty for long spells nowdays. Anybody who thinks the stiocking rate in freer texas is 1 animal unit per 8 acres is going to lose money if its ruff brush land and cactus and no giant tanks holding 2 or 3 years of run off water, lots of ranches i lived and dozed on had no water sometimes and had grass, so be carefull down there, small place i guess somebody could feed cattle hay and cubes and burn pear but omg the labor and cost of gasoline??? You be better off if you did not have cattle, the reason the south texas area has brush is because of the misplaced idea of overgrazing to the gorund with no rest and monocultures of grass that still exists today in many mentalitys, I love the ranches now where cows and steers are gone and are only for wildlife, cows never did anything but destroyed the range and set up good habitat for the deer fence people thanks to God, only thing cattle are good for on a real deer ranch is to graze down grass and weeds so it wont be a burn ban hazard. Overstocked cattle operations prob cost deer hunters 10 to 30 inches per buck if the truth was known.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:23 PM   #21
Encinal
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We've been basically the same grass type for the last 20 years... and have had blues through most of it.

06 was really rough... and 07 didn't help matters (for blues)

we just don't have many quail in general at the moment...

I saw one pretty big covey of blues this year on us... that flew back onto the neighbor.

Sand country never was great for blues... not like the hardpack is... or the clay... but I miss seeing the mixture under all the feeders.
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:50 PM   #22
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I didn't mention that I hate Bufflegrass

I'm following this research closely because I believe it it the reason we went from 75% Blues to 80% Bob's over the past 10yrs

http://www.elsauzranch.com/wildlifer...ilhabitat.html
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:54 PM   #23
Encinal
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I didn't mention that I hate Bufflegrass

I'm following this research closely because I believe it it the reason we went from 75% Blues to 80% Bob's over the past 10yrs

http://www.elsauzranch.com/wildlifer...ilhabitat.html
Your fawns don't mind it that much...
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:29 AM   #24
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We (unfortunately) have a Cow/Calf operation on our 9000 acre ranch. NRCS recommends 1 "animal unit" per 50 acres, I truly think that is too many cows. Our country is 80% brush and you can tell when the cows start hedging up on the brush. BTW, over 90% of the cows have been removed due to the drought, hopefully we'll get a year or 2 break from them.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:46 AM   #25
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I used 1:20 in my previous post. Keep in mind that is still a rarity. I agree with FCTrapper, 1:50 is probably getting close to a proper stocking rate for sustainability on a lot of South TX properties.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:53 AM   #26
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eat more chikin'
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