Good quality pasture is the best feed for stock. Species like horses and sheep can generally graze close to the ground, but goats and cattle require longer pasture.
At certain times of the year you will have too much grass (spring and autumn) and at other times too little (winter and during summer droughts). Cut hay or silage when you have too much grass, and feed these out when the grass is in short supply.
Smaller block and lifestyle farmers typically use hay
to cover shortages as most other supplements are supplied in bulk or are expensive in small quantities. Molasses are available in drums suitable for small blocks and can be spread over hay to increase the feed value of the supplemented diet.
To address a genuine feed shortage, also consider reducing the stocking pressure on the farm.
As a rule of thumb, 1 acre will support:
- 1 cow for one year, raising a calf until about 3 months of age
- 1 – 2 horses for one year with the use of hard feed over winter
- About 6 sheep or goats for one year, raising lambs or kids until about 3 months of age
Don’t forget to allow for the space taken up by your house, garage, shed, driveway, trees or gardens.