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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Use plant vigor as an indicator of pasture performance

Posted on: Sep 26, 2012

Plant vigor provides a quick and easy indicator to evaluate past grazing management.  When evaluating plant vigor, an observer asks these questions:  Are the pasture plants green and growing relative to recent climatic events?  Are plants producing seed?  Are plants achieving expected stature?  Are plants firmly rooted to the soil surface?  If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then resoruce managers must examine their grazing management practices.

Consider the following photo, taken on a Montana ranch in early June 2012.  This photo shows a pasture plants whose stature, color, and growth rate are well below historical observations.  Further, plant productivity and anticipated stocking rate in animal days per acre is roughly half of long-term expectations.


A review of this ranch's grazing records shows that this pasture experienced long grazing durations and excessive utilization rates in 2011.  As a result, this pasture requires much recovery time in the current growing season to allow plants a chance to regrow.  Financially, the gains that were realized last year by poor management produced a net loss in income for this year's grazing operation.  This example illustrates the importance of good grazing management through time, and plant vigor is a terrific indicator providing insight into corrective management actions.

Likewise, the following photo shows a Wyoming ranch that received nearly an inch of rain in the past two weeks, yet the pasture appears brown.  The plants appear as if they are going dormant in the early growing season:  they appear to possess low plant vigor.  Improving plant vigor and overall plant productivity will require recovery time to be built into the grazing plan.  In time, these plants should regain their vigor, and the pasture's performance will improve, but this ranch risks negatively impacting the revenue that may be generated from this pasture by leaving cattle for such long durations.

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