Tips on managing forage, water, and cattle resources

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Burke Teichert, Orem, UT is no stranger to the beef industry. He was employed for many years in a management role with AgReserves (which consisted of Dessert Ranches, Rex Ranch, and several other large ranching enterprises). Experience runs deep with Teichert especially in the area of managing forages and cattle resources during difficult times such as droughts. In his presentation at the 20th Anniversary of Cattlemen’s College held in conjunction with the 2013 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention and Trade Show, Tampa, Fla., Feb 6 -9th, he addressed important strategies producers should consider as a ranch manager or owner.

Teichert emphasized ranch managers and owners should remember they are managing production, marketing, management, and financial sectors including the people that make it all work on the ranch. In challenging times such as drought, managers can’t let their emotions from the stress of the drought interfere with their daily management decisions. They must continue to manage wisely, Teichert said. In addition, managers much still focus on protecting the land, the cattle, and the people.

Teichert said we often don’t focus enough on the people in these stressful situations. As the stress of a drought takes the toll on managers, owners, and employees of farms and ranches, it can begin to take an emotional toll on the people. This is primarily because of the fact that it brings out emotions in the people as they begin to worry about the many factors intertwined with a drought such as finances, overgrazing, the general well-being of the land, the cattle, and in some cases the decision to sell cattle off, after a ranch has built up years of genetics.

Another challenge during drought or lack of moisture is the concern of accessing feedstuffs needed to maintain and feed the cow herd. When a drought is as widespread as the 2012 drought was, Teichert commented, it is even more difficult because the area impacted is so large geographically that no one has excess feed. However, a more regionalized drought does allow producers to sometimes locate feed in the next state or another region of the country.

In his closing, Teichert said his bottom-line message in his presentation was to educate producers to not overuse the resources from the land but rather utilize good grazing methods such as a well-planned rotational grazing system. He emphasized to the cattlemen’s college attendees, the earlier you start to destock, the less you will have to destock. In addition, always keep in mind to protect the land — don’t abuse it by trying to keep the cattle too long. And if you are going to have to sell some cattle, Teichert commented, take care of the cattle so that the ones you have to sell are in the best condition they can be and that you can get the best return at time of selling. Getting the best dollar will provide you with more dollars to reinvest when times get better, concluded Teichert.

Source: B. Lynn Gordon



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