The chart below shows the stocking rate in animals per thousand acres as a function of land area for HMAs in Oregon. Stocking rates are based on the upper values of the AMLs (mostly horses, a few burros and mules).
Three observations from the chart:
- Most of the stocking rates are smaller than 2.5 animals per thousand acres
- Stocking rates vary inversely with HMA size
- Stocking rates are more-or-less constant for HMAs larger than 250,000 acres
The Cold Springs HMA has the largest stocking rate.
The largest HMA is Coyote Lake / Alvord Tule Springs, the smallest is Hog Creek.
The average stocking rate for the state is 0.97 animals per thousand acres (1031 acres per animal).
The Kiger and Riddle Mountain HMAs, which produce the popular dun-factor horses, have stocking rates of 2.3 and 2.0 animals per thousand acres, respectively. The next gather of these animals will probably be in the third quarter of 2019.
Given that the HMAs are fairly close to each other in the southeastern corner of the state, if a smaller parcel can sustain two or more animals per thousand acres, why can’t the larger ones?
The Beaty’s Butte HMA, one of the largest in the state, has a population density of just 0.57 animals per thousand acres. Could it be the government serfs who run cattle on public rangelands put pressure on the BLM to reduce the number of horses in the area? The same ranchers who pushed for the Beaty’s Butte Wild Horse Training Facility?