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Management-Intensive Grazing With Bison

By   /  September 1, 2014  /  Comments Off on Management-Intensive Grazing With Bison

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Photo Courtesy of VermejoParkRanch.com

Vermejo Park Ranch has discovered that it is home to mountain bison, a species of the American bison that is very rare.  Photo Courtesy of VermejoParkRanch.com

I was lucky enough to visit Mark Kossler when he was the manager of Turner Enterprises’ Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico. The ranch was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. There was the natural beauty, and the beauty of how the ranch was managed, and the beauty of the mountain bison that live there. I also had the rare privilege of interviewing Mark about his work with bison. Mark is a great observer and his curiosity drives him to try things, and to run small experiments so that he can decide if one thing works better than another.

One of the things Mark talked about during our visit was what happened when he tried Management-Intensive Grazing on irrigated pasture with bison. In this video he talks about the differences he found between how cattle and bison behave in this kind of system, how the shape of the pasture affected whether or not the bison stayed in them, and how many young bull bison he could run per acre. Using his lessons learned, you too can do this with bison, and hopefully achieve the same kinds of gains he did, at 2.5 pounds per day.

Don’t have bison? It’s worth watching the video just to see how someone pays attention to what’s going on in his grazing system and with his animals.

Here’s the link for our tablet readers.

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About the author

editor and contributor

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

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