How Many Cow/Calf Pairs Could a Checkerboard Rancher Place on One Square Mile?

The draft RMP Amendment and EIS for the four HMAs affected by the Rock Springs Consent Decree did not provide parcel sizes and grazing seasons for the 28 allotments involved, so the question will have to be answered by bootstrap.

Data for livestock on public lands in Wyoming yield 18.6 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres, assuming a six month grazing season.

Section 3.10 in the draft EIS indicates an average grazing season of about four months, so the estimated stocking rate would be 27.9 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres.

One square mile contains 640 acres, so the estimated number of cow/calf pairs that could be placed on a private checkerboard parcel is 27.9 ÷ 1,000 × 640 = 17.9.

Each parcel would require 4 × 5,280 = 21,120 linear feet of fencing plus a water source, a sizeable expenditure for just 18 ‘free ranging’ cow/calf pairs.

Of course, the rancher could import feed to allow the number of animals to increase into a profitable range, as it should be: Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are for domestic livestock, not wild horses.

RELATED: Is Wyoming a Fence-Out State?

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