June 20, 2022

What in Tar(weed)nation?! Part 2 – The Nature of Your Weedy Enemies and the Nature of Nature

Last week, I wrote about how tarweed showed up on my ranch a few years back, and how the management that had worked so well in the past seemed to fail me. In the end, I realized I needed to know more about my opponent. So here’s what I learned. I hope you’ll use it […]

June 20, 2022

Beyond Tarweed – Thoughts About Why Things Are Changing in Pastures

In the past few years, John Marble has dealt with Tarweed, a vole invasion, and now a new weed. Is it his management, or something beyond his control? I asked him to share his thoughts with us in this week’s Notes from Kathy. It’s a great addition to this month’s Thinking Grazier. This year, I’m […]

June 13, 2022

What in Tar(weed)nation?! An Example of Working With Nature to “Beat” Weeds

This month we’re focusing on weeds an how to manage them. I’m including a lot of information about how livestock can manage your weeds for you by grazing them. But, while many weeds are perfect forage, not ever weed can be grazed. That’s when we need another approach, like this example from John Marble. When […]

May 23, 2022

Livestock Record Keeping Advice From a Heretic: Stop Writing Stuff Down!

This month we’ve been looking at record keeping and it’s place in our operations. So I asked John Marble to weigh in and share why he keeps almost no records at all. He’ll start with some thoughts about the value of collecting animal data. He’ll talk about other kinds of data in future issues. I […]

April 18, 2022

Thinking Strategically About Reducing Fossil Fuel Inputs in Your Grazing Operation

This months’ Grazier’s Focus was inspired by some very fascinating ideas from rancher Richard Moyer. Richard has been thinking about the problems associated with finding, buying, and affording the hay he needs to keep his cow herd going. The roadblocks Richard sees are expensive fuel, expensive fertilizer, and just plain scarce supplies of hay (caused […]

December 20, 2021

Turning Toward Home – Making Changes to a Grazing Operation

This piece is part of our discussion of moving toward a better life with grazing. Last week, Troy Bishopp share how he’s creating a more fulfilling life by building in time in his grazing management for family, friends and fun. This week, John Marble provides another perspective. Several decades back (well shoot, let’s be honest […]

September 20, 2021

Leading Instead of Herding – Why and How to Teach Your Livestock to Follow

Last month in The Thinking Grazier, John Marble got us thinking about our relationship with our animals and how behavior (theirs and ours), along with our fence and infrastructure, factors into getting them to do what we want them to do. Then last week, he concluded that leading was more efficient and cost effective than […]

September 13, 2021

Calling and Leading Cattle is More Time and Cost Efficient Than Herding

To start, I’d like to thank my neighbors Ken and Debbie for inspiring this study. Ken and Debbie raise “stock dogs.” This provides me with endless hours of entertainment during the pleasant evenings of spring and summer as I listen to the strange commands, whistles, and threats that float across the pasture. They sound like […]

August 16, 2021

Paddock Design and Stockmanship – Thinking It Through

Editor’s Note: John Marble runs a seasonal grazing operation. That means he doesn’t over-winter cattle, and,each spring, he’s working with a new batch of cows, calves, and custom grazed steers. Because these animals are unfamiliar with managed grazing, he’s developed techniques that make it easy to work with and move them. This month, we’re taking […]

August 9, 2021

Infrastructure Costs on Different Ranches – Wide Open Spaces and Little Bitty Places

As a young man growing up in the narrow green valleys of western Oregon, I was routinely given the following advice: “If you want to be a rancher, you better move east, because that’s where all the real ranches are.” The “east” all those folks were speaking of is the huge sea of sagebrush that […]

June 14, 2021

What is the Best Cow?

The best cow I ever bought was a real beauty. Her name was Miss Unaweep Rafter 145, and she came with some fancy registration papers and a bull calf at her side that my mother thought could be our next herd sire. I know old Unaweep was a good cow. She must have been – […]

May 3, 2021

This Year’s Drought Outlook and What to Do About It

The US Weather Service has issued its drought prediction for the next 90 days and for some of us the news is not good. In fact, for some of us, the news is even worse than last year when Kathy and I shared this information with you. So here, updated from April of 2020 is […]

March 29, 2021

Our Latest Plague: Meadow Voles

I try to keep in touch with our custom grazing clients, maybe call them once a month or so during the winter months. This helps remind me to pay attention to forage conditions here on the ranch and lets them know that I’m thinking about them. Often, these calls include some personal conversations or potential […]

March 22, 2021

Grafting Baby Calves Part 2 – How tos

In Part 1 of this series we talked about choosing the right animals for successful grafting. So, you’ve got a good, loving cow and a ripping good replacement calf. Now is when the work starts. If you have ever observed a normal birth, you know that the cow typically stands up, turns around and begins […]

March 15, 2021

Grafting Baby Calves Part 1: Should you do it?

Here on the ranch, calving season is generally a pretty happy time. My business model includes buying pregnant cows. These are cows that I don’t really know very much about, as in, we might have an estimate about what month she might calve in, and we know what color she is, but beyond that – […]

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