Opportunity of a Lifetime?

What an amazing spring we have been blessed with. Last fall set us up for phenomenal grass growth this spring and the spring rains have provided the moisture to take all of our operations to a grassland level only dreamed of. Those rangeland managers that have taken the steps to assist those ‘ice-cream’ grasses to become strong and productive are going to reap the benefits for years to come, even moving toward what some call those ‘pristine’ days seen when West Central Texas ranching was in its infancy in the 1870’s. Some say it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to move the rangeland to a much more productive level. It is indeed a rare time of God given plentiful rainfall, but the opportunity of the rangeland manager to make a difference is available daily regardless of the rainfall. (Wet or dry) Each day presents a new opportunity to move our grazing operations to a long lasting, drought tolerant, environmentally significant productivity, a continually improving state. This includes the chance to make our grazing operations more profitable, truly a ‘win-win’ deal. Yes, if the ‘opportunity’ of today is lost, one could say he failed to seize that ‘opportunity’ and it is lost forever. Neat thing is, tomorrow presents a new chance to move the rangeland to a new level of productivity. The ‘opportunity of a lifetime’.

I am including some pictures taken today (May 11, 2019) all within a single pasture. It was burned in August of 2016 and the last grazing cycle of cattle ended January 2 of this year, we’ll be back to graze again in late August of this year (270 days of rest) (Note that little, old, un-grazed grass is seen – other than Little Bluestem which is to be expected with Little Blue)
First picture shows Texas Blue grass, Canada Wildrye and Texas Winter among others. Of note the bare area at the top of the picture is a solid limestone slab rock, with an almost continuous scattering of flint rock. The area shows considerable sign of being a Native American napping area. (Wonder what those folks saw when working in the area?)
Second picture shows a very robust colony of two-flower melic. (Note the remains of a small Juniper taken out by the summer burn.) Perennial cool season plants are becoming a very important part of the rangeland ecosystem putting us in the position of no supplemental feeding of cattle.
Third picture is of Indian Grass, Little Blue and Big Blue, also if observed closely, Texas Cup, Sideoats and other midgrass’ that offer considerable diversity to the rangeland mix are seen within picture.
As I said at the first of this post—AMAZING—spring conditions and I expect it to only get better as the season progresses.

 

 

If you enjoy reading my posts I suggest you go to ‘Rangelands and Ranching’ found at https://rangelandsandranching.com/ and click Follow in the lower right hand corner. You will need to put your email address in and if you ever tire of seeing the post, you can easily unsubscribe. This new web site-blog is in a continuing state of construction and hopefully will become a useful source of information for those that wish to understand my perception of the wonderments and environmental benefits our rangeland resource can provide with proper care and nurture. Facebook and LinkedIn will always receive the same posts, but if you are anything like me, sometimes it is much easier to open an email knowing that a fresh post is available from a source that I prefer to read and not surf through the numerous posts, that often, aren’t of any concern to me.

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Rangelands and Ranching: A Study of Proper Use of Rangelands & the Environment by Frank S Price

My son and I ranch a cow-calf, wooled sheep and hair sheep operation in West Central Texas. We operate 7 different grazing units and utilize a single herd, traditional pasture grazing program within all these units. My son represents is the 5th generation of this enterprise that was started in 1876 by my great grandfather. He and his brother began by driving a herd of cattle from Ennis Texas to Santa Anna Texas, ultimately driving the herd of cattle they had built to Kansas markets and returned to Sterling County, to begin a permanent ranching operation. Rainfall within our scattered operations runs from 17” to 20”. The winters, while going into the single digits on occasion are relatively mild compared to ranches further north, resulting in mostly mild winters producing usable cool season growth along with the dominant warm season plants.

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