Ask Why Brush Encroachment is an Issue Prior to Brush Management

Brush management can be an effective tool when working to restore rangeland health, but always remember that it is only a ‘tool’ used by the rangeland mangers effort of improving soil health, becoming more drought tolerant and making the ranching operation more profitable. Of the numerous tools in the toolbox always remember the one tool that is the most important of all is proper grazing management, as the lack of it will result in all the other available tools being largely ineffective. Yes, the use of brush management will appear to be beneficial but over time it normally fails and must be reapplied. When proper grazing management is also applied the CAUSE of the problem has been addressed, resulting in a sustainable solution of past mistakes.

Note the poor grass production at the edge of the heavy cedar.

Brush encroachment on our rangelands and the resulting detrimental effects that brush has on the overall health of the rangeland is a result of poor grazing practices of past and present land managers. Simple control or management of the brush is not the answer to establishing healthy conditions, application of sound grazing management is essential to the long-term recovery of the land and for that matter profitability of the operation.

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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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