Our Move to Year-Round Grazing

Two years ago, I made the leap and attended a Ranching For Profit School. I had contemplated it for years, but the cost seemed prohibitive. Our 4th generation operation had been successful, but I was searching for more. As seems to always be the case margins were continuing to get squeezed. I felt that if this operation was going to move on to the 5th generation, profitability needed to increase. I’ve always been a numbers guy, so while the financial part of the class was beneficial, learning about better management of grass and soil was to be my enlightenment. Coming out of that school, it seemed that reducing the machinery, labor, fuel, repair costs, etc. from hay was the low hanging fruit I could get. I didn’t realize that thoughts of improving my grass utilization would ultimately lead me to my realization that it all comes back to the DIRT. Soil health! That's a tangent for another day but I sure believe that soil health is the basis for it all. So after thinking the RFP school was too expensive, my nephew and I have attended numerous schools  over the last two years on grazing and soil health - sound investments that I plan on continuing. I have l

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7 thoughts on “Our Move to Year-Round Grazing

  1. Hey Dean,
    Never too old to learn are we. What’s the best system you have found to parent verify?

    1. Ron,
      It’s funny learning about stuff in school that you didn’t care about was boring, but it’s very enjoyable when you like the subject! We do most everything through the Angus Assoc. and use Zoetis. I really don’t have much of an opinion on whether they are better or worse than anyone else. We prick the back of ear with a needle when we are tattooing the calves. It works pretty well for most of them.

  2. Hi Dean,

    It is interesting that your are operating three different herds. Do you see yourself working toward high density management intensive grazing? In this case you would move one large herd instead of three.

    1. Eric,
      That is a tough one for us and we have struggled with how how to eliminate herds. We actually have many more than three. Our operation is on seven different properties that are not close enough to run as one. Additionally, we have a registered herd, a commercial herd, and spring and fall calving groups in both of those. Five of the properties are down to one herd. It is definitely something that we are working on, just not there yet.
      Dean

    2. One other thing, we have started to combine registered and commercial cows and multi-sire breed them. After birth, we then are DNA parent verifying. This has helped with reducing the number of herds.
      Dean

  3. Hi Dean,
    Nice article. Thanks for telling your story.
    It is a story I have heard many times before. The hesitancy to make that first step is what holds most producers back.
    The progression from 5-7 day moves, to 3-4 days, and then finally to one-day moves is the game changer (and life changer) for many.
    A comment I have heard very often from many graziers is ‘I just can’t believe how much difference there was when we went to daily moves.’

    Good luck & Good grazing!

    Jim Gerrish

    1. Jim,
      Thank you. It’s a process for sure, but we are gaining. Your school was one of the foundations for our progress and future plans.
      Dean

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