Monday, May 27, 2024
HomeGrazing ManagementLearning from the Past

Learning from the Past

The other day I read an intro to a book on pasture management that compared corn production and pasture management. The author contended that while there was amazing improvement in corn production over the last one hundred years or so, pasture management and livestock production had not changed. This irritated me.

“What?!” I thought. “Does he just not have any historical context? Is he not aware of all the changes that we’ve made to forage plants and animals that have made our beef production system the most efficient and high producing on the planet?”

The history of agriculture isn’t something most of us think about, or if we do, we sometimes make negative comparison between what folks did in the past and what we’re doing today. But, as always, we’re standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, and their mistakes and successes help make us what we are today. So, this week, here’s a little history. Hopefully it will provide some context and when necessary, help us not to repeat past mistakes.

There’s a lot here, including a 20 minute video. But I wanted to give you a little extra because I’m going to be out of town next week and won’t be able to send you an email.


Productive Cattle

This three-part series with great photos shows how we’ve altered cattle through breeding. Today’s cattle produce more meat in less time than ever before.

From Big to Small to Big to Small: A Pictorial History of How We’ve Changed What Cattle Look Like

Productive Forage

Humans have always tried to breed plants that produced more of what we want and improving pasture grass varieties is no exception. The Dust Bowl provided incentive to scientists looking for and creating new varieties of grasses that would survive and thrive through drought. This is just one example of working with new forages. I’m sure you can come up with modern-day examples from your seed supplier.

Utah Rancher Gets Results With Conservation Program

Regenerative Management

We’re not the first generation to work on regenerative practices. We’re just the first to give it that name.

This Regenerative Rancher Manages for Grass

Forward Thinkers

Did you know that the soil health principles we follow today are a product of the dirty thirties, and a man with a passion for soil. Here’s a video about what he did and the great impact he is still having today.

The Beginnings of Soil Conservation and the Regenerative Agriculture Movement

Great Costumes!

If you’re still wondering what you’re going to be for Halloween, here’s a prize-winning suggestion from the past.

Farmer/Rancher Hallowe’en Costume Suggestions

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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