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How Many Cows Can Be Farmed Per Acre?

Last Updated: 22.04.24



Many people choose to use custom cattle ear tags because it offers them the possibility to identify their livestock in a fast and easy way. Ear tags are extremely helpful as they allow owners to keep track and record information such as gender, age, weight, when a cow last calved, the number of calves she has had, and other important details.

But do you know how many animals should be on your acre? Or, do you know how many acres of pasture your animals need? There are people who have only a small amount of land while there are others who have a lot, and it can be very helpful for them to know the answer to these questions.

Regardless of which category you belong to, in this article you will find interesting information that will help you better understand better the number of animals you should own depending on how big or small your pasture is. Furthermore, you will also find out how much land you need depending on how many animals you have.


Good grazing management

It is extremely important to find out the perfect balance between the number of cows you own and the amount of land they require. So, in order to develop good grazing management, you first need to discover this important aspect, no matter if you are using a continuous or a rotational grazing system.

In order to be able to solve this puzzle, you might have to use your exceptional mathematical skills. There are certain important factors that you need to take into account if you want your solution to be as accurate as possible. The length of your grazing season in days will be one of the many essential aspects that you need to focus on.

Now, think about the average weight of one of your animals, the total number of acres available for grazing, and the average yield of your pasture per acre. Plus, another information you will need is the daily utilization rate for livestock.

Just to make things a little less complicated, we will tell you that the daily utilization is always .4 or 4% because livestock needs to have 4% of their weight in forage each day. After you’ve collected all this information, you can calculate the maximum number of animals and the minimum amount of land.

But, the maximum number allows you to stock fewer animals, and you can always use more than the minimum amount of land. This is the safest way to find out if you meet the right balance between the number of animals and your pasture. Also, you can try the general rule-of-thumb which says that it takes 1.5 to 2 acres to feed a cow-calf pair for 12 months.



Rotational grazing

If you don’t have a large amount of land and you still want to raise a pretty large number of cattle, you should opt for rotational grazing. It is believed that rotational grazing offers amazing results when used with different animals. So, besides cattle, you can also use pigs, sheep, meat birds, and laying hens.

Needless to say, you will notice what a big difference this will make! The reason why the results are better when various animals are involved is that each of them has its own behavior and it brings its own benefit to the whole process. To be more explicit, let’s have a look at what each of the above-mentioned participants does.

The sheep, for example, will go through the pasture first because they don’t eat all types of grass – they are very picky. Cows, on the other hand, don’t really mind the type of grass they eat, and that is why they will go through behind the sheep and mow the rest of the grass. And, about five days later, the laying hens are ready to do their part of the job.

They scratch through the cow patties and spread them out while they feed themselves. By doing this, the hens accelerate the breakdown of the cow manure which helps the grass to absorb it as a natural fertilizer. It is a win-win for everyone! The hens pick through the manure and eat the parasites and the fly larvae while they leave behind their manure.

The meat birds have their own role, too. They come along later before the grass starts to rebound and get too tall to re-fertilize, and this is how you can create a whole rotation that benefits everyone involved. Thanks to this well-planned process, you have healthier animals per acre, and you don’t have to use any chemical fertilizers, drugs, or supplemental feed.


Homesteader or hobby farmer

We all have our own needs and goals, and if you are a homesteader or hobby farmer it is recommended you start out small. When we say small, we mean 5 to 6 acres – it is enough to raise just a couple of cows for you and your family. In case you want to raise more than just a couple of animals, things change and you can start with a bigger land.

It depends on what you want and need; there is no general rule as to how big the land should be – there is no minimum or maximum. But, since you are at the beginning and you don’t have much experience it is safer to start small and then grow along the way.

You are the one who decides what works best for you, and we can only say our opinion. If you are an aspiring professional grass farmer and you want to do this for a living then it is better to start with as little as 10 acres. It is very important to build your soil up and to learn how to manage it the right way.

This process takes some time, especially if you want to stay away from chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and others. It might take a bit longer but at least you learn how to do things right and you prevent any bad situations from happening. Once you gain some experience it will be so much easier for you to work your way up from there.




1) Balancing your Animals with your Forage

2) Dairy Cow Stocking Rates

3) How many cows?

4) How to Determine How Many Acres are Required For Your Cattle



Leave a comment



April 13, 2021 at 4:25 pm

I have one pet highland cattle and a large dog on 2 acres.. is that enough land


November 21, 2020 at 5:51 pm

this info was amazing I have my own hobby farm with 10 acers and 5 angus at all time for family uses and this info was very helpful , …….there are also tabs you can pick from how and what to feed and water what type of fence and how to set it up just some good advice for people …..I have been in 4H and FFA my whole life but its always good to get more info and help


November 23, 2020 at 7:38 am

Hi Tyler. I’m very glad the info was helpful. Thank you for your feedback!

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