Grassland Management an Environmental Solution

There is little doubt that man has always had an influence over the environment, or at least since man first appeared on the scene. In many cases his influence has been negative, utilizing The Lords creations to his benefit, mining the resources available and paying little attention to the long-term effects of his use of those resources. In the beginning man was only concerned with survival and justifiably so, the resources available to him were what seemed an infinite inventory of tools to survive, all he had to do was figure out how to utilize the many things available to him. Over time as he developed those mental skills necessary to become proficient at survival, he began advancing a culture and sought to build a quality life for he, his family and the community surrounding him. All the while ‘mining’ the resources available to him as they seemed to be endless in availability. History is littered with failed nations and cultures that used or mined the land resource to the point that the soils he was using deteriorated, from loss of fertility and erosion to the point that the culture failed from starvation or political dissatisfaction that ultimately destroyed the cultural infrastructure that had been sought by its people. Yet, there were a few cultures that very early on in the history of man, recognized the need to build soils. Creating terraces, adding manure back to the soil, fallowing the land and rotating crops. The Mayans and Incas were some of these people, yet those talents were greatly lost over time. (Discussing what happened to these cultures will be deferred to another time.)

As the world has arguably been populated in all sectors, there are no longer new lands to move to and develop so that man can exploit and mine the soil to the point of destruction. For man to survive, it must be recognized that soil is a renewable resource, that when nurtured by man, can produce ever more productive crops, livestock and environmentally sustaining benefits to the world we reside in.  It is not necessary for man to till or graze the land to the point of severe erosion and near total loss of fertility of those soils. It is not necessary for man to accept the argued premise that CO2 will become an environmentally unacceptable detriment to the world we depend on for survival. Man must recognize that he has caused the severe depletion of the soil resource and that he can begin to make a difference in recovering what has been lost.

 

Keeping in mind The Lords plan was to rest the land every 7th year (Exodus 23:10-11 and Leviticus 25:4) As the practice of the art and science of grazing management is utilized more and more by rangeland managers the tools to truly make a difference in rangeland soil recovery to the point of regaining the ecosystems found by early man. The cow and in some applications sheep and goats, are an integral part of this reclamation. (Animal impact is extremely necessary for rangeland recovery and maintenance.) Those that understand and observe this process working in real time need to tell the story to those that seem to think the cow is bad for the land. As she is one of the basic tools to recover the lost soils that we so poorly managed in the past.

 

Photo was taken in early October, well before frost and cold weather. Dry conditions will be a challenge going into the winter months.DSC00881

Published by

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s