A stock-flow plan is a key component in the process of balancing forage demand with forage supply. Texas A&M University Extension Specialists Larry D. White and Tom R. Troxel offer the following guidelines for preparing a useful plan.

  • Class of Livestock: Record what type of livestock is entered into the stock-flow plan (mature cows, bulls, stockers). Months of the year are also listed with numbers of days. Monthly information on the number of head, weight, production stage, ADG, SUE, and Total SU/Day may be most conveniently recorded as it stands on the first day of the month.
  • Number: The total number of the specific class of livestock. Because of the way many classes of livestock are managed, a monthly recount may not be practical. A recount should be completed every time livestock are gathered.
  • Weight: Monthly livestock weights are to be recorded on this line if this information can be obtained. Body-condition scores could be recorded on this line instead, with a scale of 1 to 9. Thin, moderate, or good scores or even arrows as an indication of body condition change could also be used. An arrow pointing up would indicate an improvement in body condition; an arrow pointing down would indicate a decrease in body condition; and an arrow pointing across would indicate maintaining body condition.
  • ADG: The expected average daily gain is reported here. Once again, if the average daily gain is not known, use arrows increasing ADG, decreasing ADG, or no ADG.
  • SUE: Stock Unit Equivalent. The daily forage requirements differ for different kinds of animals, various sizes and ages, physiological needs, and management objectives. The SUE is based on daily metabolizable energy requirement of a 1,000-pound cow in the last third of pregnancy (17.3 Mcal). Stock units change as production stages change throughout the production cycle. Enter the correct SUE for the class of livestock.
  • Total Stock Units Per Day: Multiply the number of head times the SUE If bulls are grazing with the cowherd, for example, multiply the number of bulls times their SUE and add that number to the cow total SU/day.
  • Forage Demand/Day: Take the Total Stock Units/Day and multiply by 19.6 pounds. This will estimate the daily forage demand for this group of livestock.
  • Forage Demand/Month: To determine the forage demand for each month, multiply the Forage Demand/Day by the number of days in a given month.
  • Change in Inventory: This is to assist with the transfer of livestock.

    • Death: The number of animals lost each month may not be known. However, every time livestock are gathered, the number that died should be determined.
    • Sold: The number of livestock sold during any given month should be recorded on this line.
    • Purchased: The number of livestock purchased during any given month should be recorded on this line.

    • Transfer (in/out): This is to record the number of livestock transferred in or out of the specific classification of livestock. For example, weaned heifers may be transferred out to the growing heifer enterprise.

The stock flows of all livestock grazing the same pasture must be combined to determine
the total forage demand. A grazing plan helps to identify when and where the forage demand will be obtained so that needed forage production by pasture can be determined. As the year progresses, record what actually happens. By comparing planned events with actual events, future crisis situations may be forecast. This is very true in predicting when forage will be depleted. Actual records will also improve future plans.

For more information, refer to the Texas A&M Web site listed below and go to the report titled “Balancing Forage Demand with Forage Supply. http://agpublications.tamu.edu/catalog/topics/Livestock.html