Proper grazing planning and management can use animal impact to help, not hurt, important water-based ecosystems on your ranch.
See how a researcher and his family restored soil health, native grasses and diverse forages to abused and neglected land. Today, herds of sheep, goats and now bison continue the process as they graze under regenerative management.
Have a plan with options, observe closely, and be ready to adjust as needed.
One Noble Research Institute ranch manager learned regenerative grazing doesn’t have to add to one’s work time – it just changes what you do with it. And the rewards are many.
Winter supplementation for a cow can account for anywhere between 40 and 60 percent of the annual cost of maintaining the cow. Therefore, producers should plan their winter supplementation strategies during the growing season to allow for more options and to reduce winter feed costs when utilizing bermudagrass pastures.
Over the years I have seen many grazing operations in many parts of the country. I have seen places that never seem to grow as much grass as they should, and I have seen places that always seem to have lots of grass. Likewise, I have seen places that have been hurt by the extreme weather of the past several years, and I have seen places that have tolerated the extreme weather quite well. The places that have lots of grass and are doing well don’t necessarily have better soil or get more precipitation, and they may not be stocked lighter or rested more days per year. So what is the difference? Roots and the effects that management has on the roots.
By my way of thinking, the most efficient food-producing animals for human consumption are herbivores. Herbivores are animals that are adapted to eat plants. They have a four-compartment stomach, and the first compartment, the rumen, contains bacteria with the ability to break down cellulose, the primary component of plant cells, so it can be digested by the animal. In addition, according to the USDA-NRCS National Resource Inventory, there are approximately 588 million acres of grazinglands in the United States. These lands are comprised of rangeland, pastureland and grazeable forestland. Much of this land is not suitable for farming, but is well suited for herbivores, such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, elk, bison and antelope. Just taking cattle into account, these lands are responsible for more than 15 billion pounds of beef production on an annual basis.
Livestock producers in the southern Great Plains should not overlook johnsongrass in their pastures. For one thing, under certain conditions it can kill your cattle. Another reason not to overlook johnsongrass is that it is excellent forage – if you can get over the fact that it can kill your cattle!