Category: Risk/Drought

Is Your Ranch Fire-proof?

The risk of wildfire has always been a normal part of ranching. But today we are faced with a new normal that includes the increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. The number of wildfires hasn’t changed much. There are roughly the same number of fires now as when I was cutting fire lines on a Forest […]

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How Long is Long Enough?

The biggest mistake people make in grazing management is providing too short a recovery period for plants after grazing. Of course too much rest isn’t good either. In drier environments excluding animals from a pasture long after it has recovered will lead to reduced productivity, dead grass and bare soil. In wetter environments it can […]

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Smart Debt

A lot of people tell me that they want to be “debt free.” They are tired of making big interest payments on land, livestock, machinery and their operating note. They have had too many sleepless nights worrying about making the next payment. They believe that if they didn’t have to borrow money they would be […]

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You Might Be Ranching For Profit If …

You might be ranching for profit if your spouse doesn’t have to work in town so you can have health insurance. If you are making a profit you ought to be able to pay yourself whatever it would cost to replace yourself and the business ought to be able to provide a benefits package, including […]

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Scraping By

I received the following email from a young rancher last week: Dave, I am a young rancher and have grown my herd to over 100 cows over the last four years. In addition to my own operation I earn additional income working for my Dad on his place. I owe $15,000 of my cattle loan, have […]

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Boots On The Ground

You can’t monitor the health of land from a windshield.  You’ve got to have boots on the ground. Even then, we tend to look across the land rather than into it.  Looking across gives a distorted picture of what’s really going on. We need to look into the land.   Study the photo below.  It […]

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Rotational Overgrazing

Nearly 15 years ago I surveyed over 300 commercial cattle producers asking them questions about their grazing practices and their attitudes about change.  One hundred twenty of them (40%) identified “rotational grazing” as their primary method of managing cattle on pasture. Over 80% of the rotational grazers reported having fewer than 8 paddocks per herd.  […]

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