The Medicine Show Syndrome – Are We Guilty?

We have all seen the western movie when the traveling medicine show pulls into town to sell the magic elixir that will solve all your ailments. People gather around the wagon to hear the spiel that borders on the improbable. It is an extraordinary talk, enumerating all the idiosyncratic maladies of human misery and how the "medicine man" can cure everything with this one potion. Of course he soon has people lining up to buy this lifesaver. Money in hand, they purchase the product willingly, never once thinking there may be no need for it. The excitement generated is enough to cover up any doubts. You are behind the times if you don’t buy this lifesaver. Ya gotta’ have it! Did it do anything? Probably not. Were you later disappointed, wondering why you were so gullible? Yup! The cattle industry has gone through much of the same cajolery, ending in disappointment. Disappointment in that we were not farther ahead when it came to figuring our net profit. Everyone selling an input declares this is what we have to have to make a profit. Without it we are behind the times and everyone but us will be making a profit. We are made to feel guilty if we are laggards. That we aren’t very intelligent. That we just don’t get it! Input peddlers talk the cattle industry out of hundreds of millions of dollars every year for products that for the most part are not needed. Management, genetics and grazing strategies can replace nearly all the inputs deemed necessary to have a

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3 thoughts on “The Medicine Show Syndrome – Are We Guilty?

  1. Great article Chip. Your are absolutely right on the mark again! Please keep them coming…!

  2. You are so right! I used to spend summers bush-hogging (and maintaining tractor and mower) to prevent pasture grasses and forbs going to seed -. This was intended to minimize endophyte toxicity and pink-eye. It may have helped, but it was easier to assume so than to know so; but for sure it devastated the bottom line. I was afraid to give up these crutches 6 yrs ago, but I did. The same goes for supplements touted to combat fescue toxicosis. The same goes for killing off my fescue to replant with endophyte-free cultivars. The cattle know what to eat and what to trample. The latter feeds the bugs and worms that make fertilizer. Oh yes, I gave up buying that too.
    We still have summer slump and sporadic pink eye, but absolutely no more than before. The herd has adapted rather well if not yet completely. As for me, the adaptation is complete. Be patient and let Mother Nature be your guide. 9

  3. I remember in the Dairy world when I was about 35 we had the usual down with milk prices and up with grain prices, we decided to reduce the grain by quite abit and low and behold we didn’t drop much but the cows ate more of our own feed. I remember saying to my step-dad(he was retired) that we had been buying all that grain because the salesman did our feed program and his comment was “what’s does he sell” and that was the beginning for me. That was more then 35 yrs. ago and now have beef 100% grass-fed.

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