Nature Set A Great Example to Follow

Is drought more prevalent today within the Great Plains than when European man arrived in the Americas?          According to tree ring studies that is not the case. Several droughts of the pre-European’s tenure were much longer and more severe than imaginable to modern man. Yet the rangeland and its plant life adapted to those harsh conditions.

 

Is drought more severe now than it was early on?       Yes, without a doubt, the loss of much of the healthy rangelands continuous cover of the soil by the grasses-forbs-browse and their deep-healthy root systems reduced much of our once healthy rangelands to bare soil, unhealthy plants with shallow roots. Thus, the rangeland is affected by shortage of rainfall much quicker that when nature was in total control.

 

Why did this happen?       Disruption of nature’s well adapted solutions to the influence of continually changing climatic conditions. Loss of herding effect of the huge herds of wildlife, loss of those herds moving to fresh grazing not to return to grazed areas for considerable time, fragmentation of the rangelands and above all poor grazing practices of livestock grazers that did not understand what was happening.

 

Can this drought issue be changed?       We cannot go back to those pristine days of the past, but we can cause our rangeland to make considerable strides to recovering from the effects of drought. The answer is relatively simple with the initiation of sound grazing policies that emphasize the use of animal impact and rest-recovery from that animal impact.

 

Following Natures Time Tested Example-Process is the Key Ingredient.

 

 

After the extended dry of no rainfall from May thru September of this past year deep roots and dense grass cover provide (Although somewhat wilted) green grazing forage. Photo taken mid-SeptemberIMG_0098(1)

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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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