- How many stock should you carry on your block? This is not an easy question to answer. This is because the feed supply varies from day to day in quality and quantity, and so do the nutritional needs of the stock.
The old method (still in use on sheep and beef farms) is to use Livestock Units (LSU) or Ewe Equivalents (EE). The idea here is to have these standards against which all other classes of stock can be compared.The base for comparison is a 40kg breeding ewe suckling one lamb. It is assumed that they require 520 kg of Dry Matter of feed to feed then during the year.
- Then for a 5kg change in ewe liveweight, or a 20% change in lambing percentage, the LSU changes by 0.1 LSU.
- The "carrying capacity" of a farm is the measure of how many LSU can be carried on the farm. It’s calculated on 30th June each year.
- The carrying capacity is basically how many stock (LSU) you can feed during the winter. This is when pasture growth is slowest, and when you stock will not have lambed or calved so only require "maintenance" feed.
- This approach also assumes that if you can feed the basic breeding stock correctly in June, you won’t have any problems at any other times. Don’t believe this!
- The tables below show how to convert different classes of stock to Live Stock Units or Ewe Equivalents.
- NOTE. These tables cannot tell you how many LSU you should run on your block. This depends on all sorts of things like soil, rainfall, soil fertility and so on.
- Start off by asking a neighbour or consultant what they are running or what is the district average. Then it’s a trial and error exercise - and this will depend greatly on the type of season.
The key to avoiding problems is always to have a contingency plan:
- Have hay in the barn.
- Have wrapped or pit silage.
- Buy some maize silage.
- Keep some deferred pasture (standing hay or pasture not eaten).
- Graze some stock off the farm.
- Sell some stock before the feed shortage.
|Weight at mating (kg) (lambs weaned)||Production Units||Livestock Units|
|Hogget (pre-winter weight)||30||Slow||0.70|
|Hogget (pre-winter weight)||40||Medium growth-rate||1.00|
|Hogget (pre-winter weight)||50||Fast growth-rate||1.20|
|Weight Breeding (kg)||Calves Weaned||Livestock Units|
|Heifers, steers, bulls||200-400||Slow growing||3.70|
|Heifers, steers, bulls||200-465||Rapid growing||4.60|
|Heifers, steers, bulls||350-500||Rapid growing||4.70|
|Heifers, steers, bulls||600||6.00|
|Weight (kg)||Fat yield (kg)||Milk solids||livestock Units|
Horses - On Pasture-only Diet
|Pony in light work or turned out||6|
|Pony broodmare and foal||8|
|Small hack in light work (up to 15.2 hands)||8|
|Small hack broodmare and foal||10|
|Large hack in light work (500-600 kg)||12|
|Large hack broodmare and foal||14|