The Value of Holistic Herding

by Bob Kinford via The Bovine Blog

Cattle on the alp

Cattle on the alp (Photo credit: Darkroom Daze)

Many people look at what I am doing with holistic herding don’t see the value. The first misconception that most people have is that, on their ranch, it would be impossible to do. The owners of the cattle I am currently herding once thought that as well. I first presented the idea of combining their cattle into one herd five and keep them moving years ago. Their reaction was “It is impossible to do” in this area. Now that they have been forced by drought (less than 10 inches total over three years) to lease pasture and have their cattle herded on the Circle Ranch  they are totally sold on the idea.

The benefits of holistic herding are:

  1. You know where your cattle are
  2. You know what the condition of your cattle are
  3. You can gather your cattle in one day, without hiring day help
  4. Cattle actually do better in a herd situations than in small groups
  5. Take advantage of grazing areas cattle don’t normally graze
  6. Concentrating the cattle and moving them concentrates manure and herd effect, which in turn helps build soil and increases both the amount and diversity of forage while improving hydrology of the land
  7. By increasing forage and areas you can graze increases your ability to either run more cattle or lease grass for yearlings.
  8. Reduces the amount of infrastructure to maintain in order to keep the cattle watered
  9. Reduces overall fuel, maintenance and labor costs.
  10. Reduces the amount of water needed

Numbers eight and nine are hard for people to wrap their minds around. Using the Circle ranch as an example, this is easy to explain. There are an average of five water points per pasture. In a herding situation, it is possible (and preferable) to water the herd at a single water point. By placing a single water point with covered storage in each pasture the Circle ranch would reduce the amount of driving to check water by as much as 80% (The costs implementing this could be offset by selling your now defunct drinkers)

How can it reduce the amount of water you need? A five foot diameter drinker has an annual evaporation rate of 750 gallons per drinker meaning that each of the pastures would require 3,000 less water per year or 51,000 gallons less water for the whole year (not counting the 1,000,000 lost in evaporation in the existing uncovered storage tanks ). How much would this reduce your ranch’s electric and fuel bills in a year?

Once a person gets past the excuse of not being able to herd holistically, there is no reason not to do it.

Heat Detection Manuel: (and record book)If you appreciate the free information you get from this blog, you will also enjoy the books and e-books I have on available on Amazon from my company website!

Bob’s books are also available at the Land & Livestock International eStore. For example:

Heat Detection Manuel: (and record book)
By Bob Kinford

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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