A good rule of thumb is six mature goats equal one cow unit on native or improved pasture. The number of goats can be increased depending on the quantity and quality of forages that are available.
Carrying capacity can be calculated using this formula:
- acres x forage and browse production per acre x seasonal utilization / daily intake x length of grazing season
It is more difficult to predict stocking rate where there is brush. However, if one can access the soil survey for a specific piece of land, it will have predicted biomass or native range production for the soil type. Multiply this figure by 0.5 (utilization) and allow for 2,000 lb of forage for a mature doe with kids. A stocker goat may require 300 to 1,000 lb of forage depending on size. Carrying capacity of woody species is usually reduced 50 percent by one year’s grazing if the plants were severely defoliated in year one, but there may be some more grass available.