What’s the Key to Grazing Success? Rest!

We first ran this article in September of 2017. As I reviewed it before sharing it again this week, I was struck by how well this rancher understands his ecosystem and how he changed his management to fit. His emphasis on rest highlights the most important thing we can do: provide adequate time for plants to recover. In arid environments, like this one, that could start at as much as 250 days. In wetter environments it will be less. That's the challenge - figuring out how to provide the rest our pastures and rangelands need. I hope Grady Grissom inspires you to think about how you fit in your landscape.  "Ranchers are not outside the ecosystem managing it," says Grady Grissom. "They're in the ecosystem trying to survive. And if you make successively bad decisions on a piece of land, you will go away. Your genes will no longer be in the gene pool and you won't be part of the generational ranching population." That's part of Grissom's conservation philosophy: people are part of the environment. Grissom runs what he calls a "small ranch" in southern Colorado. The Rancho Largo Cattle Company is about 14,000 acres of short grass prairie. With only 11 to 12 inches of annual precipitation, some years he needs as much as 120 acres per cow. Other years he may only need forty. That means building flexibility into his stocking rate, so he moved from a full time cow calf operation to a sparsely stocked cow calf base with the ability to keep calves, buy calves or graze other pe

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