How Many Cows Per Acre? Finding Out If You Have Enough Land


Raising cattle is not something that you can easily do without having enough land for pasture and grazing. The reason why most ranchers or farmers have such huge agricultural properties is because they are actually making sure that they have enough room for their cows to grow properly.

Grass-fed cows consume as much as 4% of their weight in forage on a daily basis, this simply means that if you do not have adequate land for grazing, your cows can easily go hungry. Having enough acres for forage is very important and this is especially true if you want to avoid spending money for fodder.

Most ranchers will adjust the number of cows that they have depending on the number of acres available for forage. To help you know more about how many cows you can feed per acre, read the rest of the entry below.

How Many Acres Do You Need For Cattle Raising

grazing cows

Since there are many different ways to raise a cow, the number of acres that you need for cattle raising will vary depending on whether your cows will be grass-fed or grain fed. Of course, ranchers who are raising grass-fed cows will need to have a lot of land for grass to grow and for hay production.

In most cases, ranchers will use a combination of grass and grain to keep the cows’ weight up. The number of acres that you will need will also depend on whether the cows are to be raised for meat or dairy. You should also consider how many cows you want to raise and if there are other grazing animals.

Grass farms cannot produce the exact amount of grass per acre all the time. This means that if an acre of land is not able to produce the right quality or the right amounts of grass, your cows will end up needing more. Most ranchers will say the amount of grass all depends on how good the grass growth is.


But in general, most of them will say that 2 pairs of calves will need about 1.5 – 2 acres of grass per year. For mature cows, some farmers will say you will need to have as much as 1.8 acres of grass per year. Of course, this will depend on the grass yield per acre as well as the condition of your field.

In some ranches, they will allocate as much as 2 acres per cow for the whole year. This estimate however, is only applicable if your grass land had a very good year. If it was on a dry year and if your cows are on intensive grazing, you might have to set aside as much as 4 acres per cow.

Can I Raise Cattle On A Few Acres Of Land?

cows on meadow

You can actually raise cattle even though you do not have the ideal land area. You can do this through rotational grazing. Rotational grazing is what some ranchers call the secret to raising more cows without having to use as much land. To do this, however, you will need to raise other animals with your cattle.

To do rotational grazing, you will have to make sure that you have chicken and sheep in your farm or ranch. You can also use turkey, meat birds, egg laying hens and even pigs to do this. The first one to graze on the first acre of land should be the sheep since they are selective when it comes to grass.

herbs on meadow

They will have to move onto the next acre after while the cattle move into the first acre to eat the rest of the grass. After five days, the hens will then move into the first acre to scatter the dung and look for parasites such as fly larvae. This will help fertilize the soil so that the grass will continue to grow.

And before the grass gets too tall, let meat birds go into the first acre to further remove fly larvae and other worms. And as soon as the grass has re-grown, start the process again to do the rotation. This will help you feed your cattle and it can remove parasites so you won’t have to keep on deworming them.



Raising cattle today requires you to take methodical steps and calculations so you will be able to take care of your cows properly and secure your profits. You will have to get rid of all the guess work and you need to do the proper calculations to make adjustments.

In general, several cows can fit into a single acre and they can forage there for a couple of days until all the grass has been eaten. But if you are trying to allocate your cow’s food supply, you should know that one acre is not enough to feed least one cow an entire year.

You will need to allocate around 1.8 acres for one year’s consumption of one mature cow. If there was less rainfall during the year, grass will not be able to grow properly and you might have to allocate as much as 4 acres for one cow.

Do you have cows in your farm or ranch? Tell us more about how many cows you can feed or graze per acre in the comment section.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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1 comment
Robert Marasco says Dec. 2017

We have 17 cows with 17 calves
And 7 first year heifers with calves.
A total of 91 workable acres. We seem to get short on managing our cows every autumn to winter. They eat the grass before we can get them moved. Sometimes they move themselves. Creating a lot of stress. We planted winter rye supplement with hay. They still move around a lot and seem unsettled. What’s a reasonable amount of acreage we need to reduce the stress? On the cows too!!

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