Ranch Advisory Welcomes Domenech

Posted on: Jun 16, 2017

Elizabeth Domenech recently joined the Ranch Advisory team as the Manger of Ecosystem Services.  Originally from a Texas ranching family, Domenech has worked across the west on a variety of ranching and wildlife-related conservation efforts, including fence design, coordinating predator/livestock…

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Stewardship Alliance of Northeast Elko (Nevada) has position open.

Posted on: Jun 01, 2017

The Stewardship Alliance of Northeast Elko (SANE), a local area working group in NE Nevada, is seeking an Organizational Coordinator who is highly motivated and passionate about enhancing healthy and resilient sagebrush ecosystems through public/private partnerships while preserving livestock operations…

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Gallatin Valley Land Trust Seeks Lands Project Manager

Posted on: May 01, 2017

The Lands Project Manager develops and manages land conservation projects throughout GVLT’s service area and plays an important role in achieving GVLT’s land conservation mission. The Project Manager is responsible for building effective working relationships, and negotiating and completing complex…

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Sieben Live Stock Seeks a Mechanic and Farm Hand

Posted on: May 01, 2017

Sieben Live Stock Co. in west central Montana is offering a full-time position for a mechanic and farm hand.  See the position announcement here. 

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Uniform grazing distribution difficult with converging soil types

Posted on: Oct 12, 2012

Grazing managers often discuss the importance of uniform grazing distribution, which means having livestock graze plants evenly across the pasture.  Lacking good distribution, livestock will often graze some plants heavily, while other plants in the same pasture may be grazed minimally.  Poor distribution and the associated uneven utilization rates affects plant recovery times between grazings, nutrient content of the forage, and even wildlife habitat.  Achieving more uniform utilization rates with good distribution often times makes grazing management easier (depending on your objectives).

On one Montana ranch, achieving uniform utilization rates proved to be quite difficult due to multiple converging soil types in the same pasture.  Different soil types often possess different plant species, and cattle may graze them differently.  The photos below show such an example.




Different utilization rates are readily apparent in these photos.  Where cattle grazed lightly, abundant standing forage is visible.  Conversely, use rates appear higher with little standing forage just feet away.  (In the photo to the left, three soil types appear to converge, and cattle grazed all three differently.)

Grazing managers have little means of correcting this situation.  In the photos above, this pasture was grazed for only 7 days, and stock densities reached 2 head per acre.  Use of more intensive fencing and/or herding are options, but the return per effort invested makes such tools undesirable.  Maintaining the health and performance of this pasture thus depends more on ensuring grazing durations are kept short (7 days is as long as cattle should be in this pasture), recovery periods between grazings are lengthy, and timing of grazings should be altered each year so that plants are not grazed at the same time each year.  With such tactics, land health and wildlife habitat may both be maintained. 

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