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Resources for Calculating Stocking Rate and Carrying Capacity

To use the resources below, you will need to know the number and type of livestock you plan to graze, for how long, and the approximate amount of forage you have available.

If you don’t know how much forage you have available, pages 4-5 of the Dryland Pasture Condition Assessment and Guidelines (below) has approximate values by region. Note that in rangelands, we usually estimate only a 50% harvest efficiency rate. This means that we plan on having livestock use only 50% of available forage because consuming 100% of available forage would reduce the amount of regrowth by plants, many landowners and agencies manage for wildlife in addition to livestock, and leaving forage behind can help protect the land from erosion and ensure that it is productive in the future.

  • Grazing Calculator (Free app) from North Dakota State

    A downloadable app that you can use to calculate stocking rate based on your input values.

  • Online Forage Calculators 

    These calculators explore the number and type of livestock your land can support based on forage need and the forage available.

  • Estimate Stocking Rate, Expenses, and Total Return

    Use the below calculator, Matching Cow Size to Available Forage, by CSU Agriculture and Business Management Economists, Jesse Russel, Jeffrey E. Tranel, R. Brent Young and Norman Dalsted, to integrate stocking rate with economic information.

  • Dryland Pasture Condition Assessment and Guidelines for Colorado Small Acreage by J. Cook, D., Nosal, J. Rizza, S. Bokan and E. Lockard.