Let’s start this week with a question:
How much better would your life be if you had your livestock take over some of the vegetation management chores at your place?
My thought is this: They’re out there in the pasture 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and with just a few tweaks to the way we manage we can use their time to get rid of plants we don’t like, add more plants we do like, create better wildlife habitat, and more efficiently turn solar power into dollars.
To get you thinking, here are some examples of how other graziers are putting their livestock to work.
Blackberry bushes, multiflora rose, coyote bush – these and other brush species can quickly take over a pasture and we’ve spent lots of money over the years trying to knock them back. But you can have your livestock take over that chore with just a few adjustments to your management. Check it out!
Reduce Fertilizer Requirements and Increase Plant Species
Jim Gerrish describes how he used early spring grazing and summer rest, with a few seedings, to reduce endophyte infected tall fescue, increase other beneficial species, and decrease fertilizer requirements.
Get a Leg Up on a Rapidly Advancing Invasive Grass That’s Destroying Habitat and Pastures
Sometimes your livestock need some additional help, and while I don’t often promote the use of herbicides, in this case I make an exception. Check out how a rancher’s experience with an herbicide in combination with grazing showed researchers a way to save the West from this devastating plant.
Graze for Wildlife
For many graziers, wildlife can be an additional source of income. Whether it’s bird or wildlife watching, or hunting, changes to how you manage can turn your livestock into tools that benefit wildlife. Here are two examples. The second includes a section on conservation practices that work for a wide variety of wildlife,a long with financial and technical resources to get you started.