the number of animals carried per unit area of land on a year-long basis. If animals are 'set stocked' they occupy the same land all year, whereas animals that are rotationally or cell stocked occupy different areas as the pasture grows and decays in regions of variable seasonal growth.
Actual number of animals on a specific area at a specific time. The area of land allowed per animal unit for the entire grazeable period of the year. Expressed as Animal units/unit area (AU/Ha) or Area/AUM (Ha/AUM).
the number of animals that can be supported in a given area over a given time. An area grazed extensively would have a low stocking rate i.e. few animals grazing over a long period, as opposed to a high rate or intensive system.
Measured in terms of either number of beasts per hectare, or hectares required per animal. It is probably the single most important factor in grazing management. It will influence the long and short term land condition and the live weight gain per animal and per hectare. Set stocking rates, which do not account for seasonal fluctuations, are still common. Because of the annual variations in pasture quantity and quality, stocking rates should be adjusted on a seasonal basis. While this would be conducive to improved pasture and animal performance it is often difficult in terms of cattle management.
The stocking rate is the number of farm animals that can be effectively grazed on any area of land. The rate will vary greatly depending both on the type of livestock, the fertility of the land, and the climatic conditions. Stocking rates are expressed in tems of number of stock per hectare or acre.