Stock water at very high stocking rates

total grazing Feb 01, 2021

If we start with the end in mind, we need to project our future number of cattle, and water needs, considering that we have increased 3 times the normal stocking rate in the first years.  After that stocking rates can increase further.

1.- Always plan for a much higher number of animals, as your land improves your stocking rate MUST increase to keep conditioning your grass for maximum photosynthesis.  This is important to repeat: as the cow needs the grass the grass needs the cow.  If your ranch demands more cattle to keep up with the extra grass being produced and you do not increase your stocking rate the improvement of your soil may go back.

2.- Build resiliency into your system, pressurized systems can fail, especially in the weekends.  You do not want thirsty cows which would lead to depressed individual performance.

3.- Allow enough water trough space so that all animals can consume water unimpeded, consider timid and dominant animals.  Having the cattle competing for water due to restricted space may leave some more timid animals without enough water, remember water consumption regulates dry matter or grass consumption; in other words: water consumption regulates grass intake, so we need ALL our animals to drink ample water.

4.- If you use water lanes make them narrow, as straight as possible, and running on the higher parts of the terrain.  You do not want your cattle travelling to water as a herd which would indicate stress on their part; calm and unstressed cattle go to water in small groups of 3-7 animals at a time to where you should observe some animals going to water and back to the pasture most times.


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