This Ranch’s Grazing Management Improves Soil and Vegetation

In the early 1950s, Jack Heyneman’s parents bought the Bench Ranch homeplace, south of Fishtail, Montana. It started out as a cow/calf, red angus seedstock operation that transitioned to a commercial grazing operation in the mid-1980s. Jack says, about the time they were disbanding the registered herd, "Mom and Dad got hooked up with Alan Savory and a group of like-minded producers in the region. That’s when they implemented this quick rotation, intensive grazing program.” At the time, Jack's parents asked Wayne Burleson for his assistance. "They wanted to build some cross fences and start practicing and doing holistic management. I came up here and did a bid and got excited because they said yes to build cross fences.” They installed electric, high-tensile wire fences, enabling them to rotate more frequently and to provide more rest to pastures.   Today, Jack and Karen Heyneman focus on increased stock density in the smaller paddocks as part of their custom grazing operation. They graze through the summer months and destock in the fall. Irrigated pastures might be grazed twice, but most pastures are only grazed once and then rested until the following year. "That’s worked pretty well for us the last few years. With the number of paddocks we have, we’re moving about every two to three days on a lot of

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One thought on “This Ranch’s Grazing Management Improves Soil and Vegetation

  1. Great article about the Bench Ranch. i worked with Tom Heynenam in 1986 on roundup on the Padlock Ranch when he was like 16 years old! It is great to learn how he has evolved! I visited the ranch in like 1987 (met Tom’s parents Susan and Jack) and spent a few days there and they told me about the Holistic Management they were starting.

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