Moving Cattle in a Grazing Rotation
Livestock production is an integral part of Blue Valley Ranch’s vision and goals, providing both an economic return to the ranch and supporting wildlife and wildlife habitat. A rotational grazing system that works for everyone is critical to managing livestock sustainably. In other words, it must be good for the animals, beneficial to the land and vegetation, and make practical sense from a management perspective.
An annual planning model and range monitoring information helps managers make the decision on when to move the herd to a new pasture. When it’s time for a move, however, most of the ranch staff enjoy helping out. Some moves are no further than across the fence, while others may take the better part of a day, if you don’t push too hard.
Low-stress animal handling methods are used when moving animals, as driving cattle too hard will not only stress them out, but also you, your horse, your dog, and anyone else involved. As the saying goes, “The fastest way to move cattle is slowly”.
As cattle become accustomed to riders and to rotating between pastures, the moves become much easier and the animals will even begin to anticipate being gathered. Part of a successful rotation is conditioning both the livestock and the cowboys taking care of them. This may take time, but Blue Valley Ranch has been working on it for the last ten years, and the end result is a successful grazing program that benefits the animals, the producers, and the land.