Bison Per Acre & Fencing
Bison per Acre
One of the most frequently asked questions is "How many bison can I run on my acreage?"
There is no simple answer. The types of forage, soil quality, water, environment and other factors directly affect the number of animals you can maintain on a given acreage. Your local county extension agent, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, university's agricultural extension office, and local beef or dairy producers can all help you determine the carrying capacity of your acreage.
The number of beef animals allotted per acre in your area is a good initial estimate. You may find that you can run more bison per acre; however, it is best to start out with a safe number and adjust as you go. Remember, an adult animal eats more than a young animal and a lactating cow eats more than a non-lactating cow.
Fencing on bison ranches and farms varies greatly. Some folks use a good taut cattle fence while some build fortresses. The preference is somewhere in-between. What works for one person may not work for you. One good philosophy is that "it is better to be safe than sorry."
Exterior fences should be of prime importance. Interior or cross fencing is also important, but some producers can get by with a lesser quality. Many producers recommend an exterior fence of six feet. If a bison can get his nose over the fence and wants to be out, it has the ability to do so. Grown bulls can make a standing six foot jump, if so inclined.