Some info: Things change. Grew up on a Hereford Beef Cow/calf/feeders, Jersey...

Asked May 7, 2020, 10:13 PM EDT

Some info: Things change. Grew up on a Hereford Beef Cow/calf/feeders, Jersey Dairy & Hampshire Hogs. I'm retired, My wife and I used to raise cattle, hogs and sheep but mostly grain farmed but no livestock since 1975. 1st Are there some downloadable fact sheets etc. for permanent pasture carrying capacity for sheep and/or beef cattle? 2nd Is a good rule of thumb for estimating carrying carrying capacity of ewes with lambs and/or cow & calf? 3rd What kind of success has there been with running cattle and sheep together (We never did) or are the cattle to aggressive? 4th I do understand there are a lot of variables such as bluegrass vs. mixed legumes etc.

Fayette County Ohio

1 Response

Pasture carrying capacity depends upon the condition of the pasture, (species, species mix, sod density), soil type, slope, environmental conditions, and maybe most importantly, management. Carrying capacity can be increased by using a managed rotational grazing system.
Cattle and sheep can be grazed together successfully, but also work well in systems where they are flip-flopped across pasture paddocks each year. One big factor is that sheep have different fence requirements than cattle. One of the primary issues with sheep on pasture is parasite management, in particular the barber-pole worm, Haemonchus contortus.
Good sources of grazing information are available on the OSU Extension Beef site at If you click on the Ohio Beef News heading and then type grazing into the search bar, you can locate numerous articles about grazing management. Likewise, the Library tab has a section with links to grazing information. The OSU forage web site has a pastures grazing section, that has useful information. I also like the University of Kentucky forages/grazing page at Links to some good publications are included on this page.
I hope this is helpful.
Rory Lewandowski
Extension Educator, Ag/NR
Wayne County