Assessing Stocking Rates

The absence of grass in the corral below tells you the stocking rate is too high, from a sustainability viewpoint.  It holds two horses on approximately 5,000 square feet.

That’s two horses on 0.115 acre, equivalent to 17.4 horses per acre, which is the same as 17,400 horses per thousand acres.

Rick Gore has two horses on ten acres (equivalent to 200 horses per thousand acres) and his pastures look good.  Of course, that’s Texas, not Nevada.

The target stocking rate on western rangelands is 27,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 1.0 one wild horse per thousand acres, neglecting burros for simplicity.

The current stocking rate is 95,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 3.5 wild horses per thousand acres.

The stocking rate allowed by plan for privately owned cattle is usually several times than the rate for horses, even on land set aside for the horses.

Assessing Stocking Rates 01-24-21

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