Carrying Capacity for Grazing Land

Asked January 8, 2019, 10:30 AM EST

I am trying to find out more information about the general carrying capacity and stocking rates in Las Animas, Huerfano, Pueblo, Otero, Costilla and Alamosa counties. I am looking to buy land in one of those counties and would like to know how many acres would be needed to run between 40 – 60 head of cattle.

I understand that carrying capacity has many variables that go into determining the number, such as precipitation, overgrazing by previous owners, types of vegetation etc.

I would appreciate any numbers and statistics that could be shared with me. It’s not easy to find information when you’re not located in the areas you’re considering.

Thanks! Nicole


2 Responses

You are right, there is a lot of variability due to range conditions, past use, weather and water availability.
In the area east of Interstate 25, your stocking rates can be from 4 to 80 acres per animal unit. Near the foothills of the front range, it can range from 4 to 25 acres per animal unit. In the San Luis Valley area, stocking rates can range from 6 to 120 acres per animal unit. In western Costilla County and eastern Alamosa you will be nearer to 80-120 acres per animal unit. There can be some areas that are lower within a region, it does vary a lot.
Soil conditions play a large part in pasture production. Knowing what soil you have will help make accurate decisions as well.
I have included the URL to four internet sites that can help you with information you are looking for. After looking them over, if you have questions get in touch.

CSU Livestock and Range Web Site

Determining Stocking Rates- Utah State University

North Dakota Stock Rate, Carrying Capacity
Web Soil Survey

Good luck,


Hi Marvin,

Thanks so much for your response. The information has been a great help. Nicole