Animal unit

The concept of an animal unit (AU) has traditionally been used in North America to facilitate planning, analysis and administration of forage use by grazing livestock, but the term has also had other applications. The term has been variously defined by regulation in different jurisdictions, and by livestock management specialists, rangeland resource managers and others. Consequently, when using or interpreting the term, care is needed to ensure that a definition appropriate for the purpose is being used. Most definitions are based on the concept that a 1000-pound (454 kg) cow, with or without an unweaned calf, is one animal unit, with such a cow being assumed to consume 26 pounds of forage dry matter per day.


The concept of an animal unit (AU) has traditionally been used in North America to facilitate planning, analysis and administration of forage use by grazing livestock, but the term has also had other applications. The term has been variously defined by regulation in different jurisdictions, and by livestock management specialists, rangeland resource managers and others. Consequently, when using or interpreting the term, care is needed to ensure that a definition appropriate for the purpose is being used. Most definitions are based on the concept that a 1000-pound (454 kg) cow, with or without an unweaned calf, is one animal unit, with such a cow being assumed to consume 26 pounds of forage dry matter per day.
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