Sustainable Rangelands & Profitability

It has been said that when the rangeland manager improves grasslands it is good for the environment but is not a profitable proposition and can only be accomplished by those that have considerable finances to fund the task. When the tools available are properly utilized this statement is nothing further from the truth.

 

Implementation of good grazing techniques, which is the first step in truly improving the health of our rangeland resource, will result in consistent and even lucrative profitability of a ranching operation. While many variables may or may not be addressed by the individual rangeland managers, here are several profit producing changes that should take place.

 

  1. When a single herd program is established, labor needed is greatly reduced per animal unit. As much as 50%
  2. When close attention is payed to rest-grazing periods influencing both warm and cool season grasses, supplemental feeding is reduced and sometimes results in no feeding over the course of the year.
  3. Internal and external parasites become less of an issue due to the long rest periods interrupting the life cycle of the parasites. As the health of the rangeland improves, this also seems to be a factor resulting in fewer parasite problems. (Positive competition from the massive amounts of micro-biomes living within the healthy soils is yet to be understood by the scientific community.)
  4. A properly designed grazing program involves much more than the graze-rest portion of the operation. Within a cow-calf operation, timing of calving-weaning and the proper handling of livestock reducing stress are important aspects of the operation.
  5. The breed, breed mix and cattle adapted to the rangeland operation can have a dramatic effect on a cow-calf operation.
  6. Consistent breed ups, percentage of calves per cow bred and weaning weight is not reduced with a properly applied program.

Think of the reduced labor, fuel, equipment and feed when the above process’ are used. Then factor in the ability to -over time- increase the grazing capacity of the rangeland and the opportunity for increased-consistent profitability become major factors in having a sustainable ranching operation.

 

 

Photo depicts prickly pear succumbing to processes that I do not understand. No chemicals used, burned two years ago and a single herd-long rest grazing program utilized.IMG_0155(1)

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.

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