The following table lists suggested initial stocking rates for cattle under the Forage Value Rating system for the interpretive plant community, only. These are conservative estimates that should be used only as guidelines in the initial stages of the conservation planning process. Often, the current plant composition does not entirely match any particular plant community (described in this ecological site description). Because of this, a field visit is recommended, in all cases, to document plant composition and production. More precise carrying capacity estimates should eventually be calculated using the following stocking rate information along with animal preference data, particularly when grazers other than cattle are involved. Under more intensive grazing management, improved harvest efficiencies can result in an increased carrying capacity.
1/ The Forage Value Rating System is not an ecological evaluation of the naturalized plant community. It is a utilitarian rating of the existing forage value of a specific tract of naturalized pastureland.
2/ Conservationists must use considerable judgment, because in places an are, in the Very High forage class, could be producing less than normal volumes of forage, and adjustments would need to be made in the initial stocking rate.
3/ Stocking rates vary in accordance with such factors as kind and class of livestock or wildlife, season of use, and fluctuations in climate. Actual use records and on-site inventories for individual naturalized pasture ecological sites, together with a determination of the degree to which the sites have been grazed, offer the most reliable basis for developing initial stocking rates.
The naturalized plant community on this site is suitable for grazing by all kinds and classes of livestock, at any season, particularly cattle. However, this site is best utilized for late spring and summer grazing as this is the major plant growth period. This site is suited for grazing by both cow-calf operations and stocker operations. However, sheep can be grazed on this site as well. This site is poorly suited to continuous year-long use if the interpretive naturalized plant community is to be maintained.
Plant Preference for Cattle and Sheep