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Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013
Category: Live from the Ranch

Last week, we put one of our groups of cattle on to the area near the lodge that was formerly a golf course during the 1990’s. The area has suffered from the planting of golf course grasses and landscaping such as sand traps, greens, tee boxes, and sprinkler systems, and now grows a fair amount of weeds among a high percentage of bare ground. For the past 7 years we have been doing “prescriptive” grazing, a type of restoration that uses herds of grazing animals to get the area back to its natural form. Our herd of 132 heifers has recently been put on 5 to 7 acres at a time of this 240 acre area by using temporary electric fence that is put up and taken down easily. They are moved anywhere from 4 to 8 times daily. This type of grazing forces them to be confined which in turn forces them to eat all the different plants including weeds instead of selecting for their favorite stuff. What they don’t eat gets trampled into the soil along with their dung and urine, all of which adds to the fertility of the soil. All those hoof prints also plant seeds that will sprout with the next rains. It’s a labor intensive project but is also very interesting and fun. The dryer the climate, the slower the progress as far as restoration is concerned. Over the years, we have noticed some improvement in some areas and little to none in others. The soil, from use of fertilizers and severe disturbance is void of nutrients and I believe it will take many more years to revitalize it.

Posted by Jeff G. on 08/13/2013
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