Online Tools for Grazing Managers
The Noble Research Institute has developed a few new tools to assist grazing managers. To use them, simply go to the Agricultural Division's homepage on the Noble Research Institute's Web site at www.noble.org/Ag/ and click on "Agricultural Tools" in the left-hand menu. Then, use the drop-down box to select the category "Forage & Soils."
The Carrying Capacity Calculator (Figure 1) allows you to estimate the proper carrying capacity for a desired period of grazing. It is a measure of forage supply divided by livestock demand and does not take into account any future growth during the growing season. You will need to measure the average forage height for the grazing area in question. Simply calculate the average height of the forage in inches by taking 10 to15 random samples across a pasture. Measure the height of the forage as it occurs naturally, and do not lift to maximum height. The carrying capacity is expressed in pounds of beef/acre and in head/acre if you know the weight of your livestock.
The Reserve Herd Days Calculator (Figure 3) will allow you to estimate the grazing days remaining in a pasture for a known herd of livestock. It is a measure of forage supply divided by daily livestock demand and does not take into account any future growth during the growing season. You will need to measure the average forage height (inches) for the grazing area in question. Be sure to use the help icon with each calculator to view the instructions, item descriptions and lookup tables.