Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeNotes From KathyTwo Goals Graziers Should Work Toward

Two Goals Graziers Should Work Toward

A couple of years ago I was working with Don Ashford on the Grazing 101 Ebook. He shared these thoughts with me. Enjoy!

Two of the goals that all producers should work toward with their grazing operations are sustainability and balance.

In a sustainable operation, renewable resources are harvested in a way that allows their inherent regeneration and continued ongoing supply. In the forestry industry this involves selective cutting and replanting. In our case we are talking about grass and what this means is that, given the opportunity, the grass will grow back after it is grazed. This is what grass does and this regrowth is the ongoing supply of forage for the cattle.

The magic word here is opportunity. The grazier creates this opportunity for the regrowth with skillful management. What we are trying to do with our grazing management is to take advantage of this inherent regeneration process, while not not creating any lasting damage to the forage’s ability to continue the process.

This is where balance comes into play. Balance in this context means the capacity of an operation – the amount it can produce without diminishing its ability to produce. Ideally if an operation is in balance the production will be more or less constant.

The problem is not so much getting the operation in balance but keeping it in balance. A gallon bucket works fine until you try to put more than a gallon in it. Cattle producers do this all the time. They will load a pasture down with more cattle than it can possibly carry and then the hay and lick tanks and range cubes show up and more likely than not any chance of profit is gone. With proper management, if the stocking density is in balance with the paddock size and the forage supply, and the grazier works to keep it that way, it can go on and on and on.

When we remember our two goals, sustainability and balance, we avoid these kinds of problems and can make better decisions.

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Don Ashford
Don Ashford
My name is Don Ashford and my wife is Betty and we live in Ethel, LA. It would be impossible for me to write a bio about myself without including Betty in it. We have been together since high school. I was in the senior class of 1955 and she was in the class of 1957. Do the math. We have raised cattle since 1959 except for a little time that I spent with Uncle Sam. We have grazed stockers, owned several cow- calf herds and custom grazed cattle for other folks. I worked as a pipefitter for more than 25 years. Until we went into the dairy business in 1977 we were as most people down here part-timers or week-end ranchers. Later after we had learned enough about MIG to talk about it so that it would be understood by others we put together a pasture-walk group to introduce it to our friends and neighbors. We belong to more farm groups then we probably should but we get great joy working with other people. What makes us most proud are our son and daughter, our 5 grandkids and our 7 great-grand kids. It has been a hell of a trip so far, but we are not done yet.

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