Monarch Butterflies

The Monarch Butterfly seems to have enjoyed a successful year, as three waves of the little critters have visited our area this month, presumably on their way to Mexico. I am unsure if the rebound in numbers is due to conservation efforts to replenish the host Milk Weeds or if nature simply provided the correct climatic conditions. Perhaps it is the result of both, but in any event, it is interesting that milk weeds, in particular Antelope-Horn Milkweed, seem to be increasing on the rangeland that we have a more intensive graze-rest program. (I do not understand the relationship as to why this is happening. Anybody have a theory?) I do not expect any toxicity problems with livestock as adequate forage is present for grazing. In fact, we have not noted any toxic plant issues with the use of a properly applied graze-rest program. (Bitterweed and Perennial Broomweed are decreasing at a rapid rate while Twinleaf Senna seems to be stable to increasing on the shallow rocky hillside areas. No chemicals applied only an effective graze-rest program.) Many good things happen when our rangeland is provided the ‘tinder loving care’ it deserves.

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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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