When a Conservation Practice is Not Conservation

On page 186 of Dr. Larry Butler’s book ‘OUT ON THE LAND’ he writes within a subchapter about three categories or major purposes of conservation practices.

  1. Vegetation management practices are directly concerned with vegetation use and growth.
    1. Prescribed grazing to balance forage supply with animal demand.
    1. Flexible scheduling and daily management designed to achieve desired objectives.
  2.  Accelerating practices supplement management practices
    1. Pasture planting.
    1. Weed control.
    1. Range seeding.
    1. Brush management.
  3. Facilitating practices control or influence the movement and handling of grazing animals.
    1. Fencing
    1. Water development

Dr. Butler goes on to describe the necessity of practicing vegetation management and without it, other practices may not be in the true spirit of conservation.

 The problem of our rangeland degradation is the result of lack of use of item 1 Vegetation management practices, without curing the cause of the problem the accelerating practices and facilitating practices are ultimately of little value to the conservation of our rangelands. True, in the short term one will think he has accomplished great conservation goals, but in the long term the same issues will return without a sound-properly applied GRAZE-REST program.

This photo depicts the current cold spell prior to falling moisture. (Fog and cold only) The wire of the power line is sagging to the point that the bottom line is well within the mesquite tree’s limbs. When the hot wire on the top gets into the tree it will not be a positive result.

Maybe global warming will resolve the issue. Could be that the Lord is showing us who is in control.


More information about Larry’s book can be found at www.outontheland.com

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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