Skip

Ranch Management Clinic Attracts More Than 200 Attendees

Ranch Management Clinic Attracts More Than 200 Attendees

Story by Tim Reinke

The Coastal Prairies Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI), South Texas GLCI, Texas GLCI, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service partnered to host a Ranch Management Clinic on September 28, 2010 in Beeville, Texas. More than 200 livestock operators, landowners and managers attended the workshop focusing on effective stockmanship, including, low-stress livestock handling methods and ranch sustainability and profitability through management and input eliminating strategies.

The morning session focused on low-stress livestock handling techniques. Nationally recognized speaker and clinician, Curt Pate, held the audiences� attention for two-and-a-half hours demonstrating his tried and true techniques. When asked about his livestock handling passion and what the landowner can expect to gain through the use of his techniques, his single word answer was �Profitability.� Pate is a firm believer that when livestock are handled using low stress techniques, profitability will be realized through less shrink, less sickness and the need for medicine can be drastically reduced.

�It is very evident that Curt has a passion for what he teaches and that if these techniques are utilized, profitability will be realized, which affects every rancher�s bottom line,� said Tim Reinke, NRCS Rangeland Management Specialist and Coastal Prairies Grazingland Conservation Initiative (GLCI) Coordinator.

�Curt has a true gift in working with livestock and is very effective at communicating his talents and techniques to his audience,� said Reinke.

Pate has few tips: Make sure the cattle can see you. Don�t make sharp, loud noises. Don�t rush the animals.

�I work the eye. That�s our best form of communication with the animal, the pressure we put on his eye,� Pate said. �The way they see us is how they move from us. When I put on pressure, they know that if they move away from me, I will take the pressure off.�

The afternoon session focused on ranch sustainability through implementing sound management practices while reducing or eliminating inputs from the ranching operation.

�Internationally recognized speaker and Colorado Rancher, Kit Pharo, has a no-nonsense approach in discussing being, not only sustainable, but profitable through tough economic times,� says Reinke.

Pharo�s goal is two-fold: �I do whatever I can to increase production without increasing expenses, as well as doing everything I can to reduce expenses without reducing production,� said Pharo. �I am not going to ignore production, but realize that my management decisions need to be profit-driven instead of production-driven. Unfortunately, most ranchers have been programmed to be production-driven. They know how to increase production, but they are going broke in the process.�

Pharo believes the cattle industry is changing rapidly and what worked for the last 30 years won�t work for the next 30 years. �Producing cows that fit their environment is necessary for low input production and those low input cow-calf producers will be the only people making a profit.�

According to Pharo, the most profitable ranches have one thing in common, they make the most efficient use of available forage resources on their ranch. There are three distinctive management practices he teaches to accomplish this objective:
1) Planned Rotational Grazing � Grazing management has proven to be profitable yet only 5% of producers do this. Some of the guidelines associated with planned rotational grazing that he advocates are: Move cattle according to how fast the grass is growing; maximize rest periods; and plan for year-round grazing.

2) Calving in sync with nature, this matches the cow�s highest nutritional requirements to the ranches highest and best production.

3) Producing cows that can survive strictly on what the ranch produces with minimum or no inputs.

�Striving for sustainability doesn�t necessarily mean that producers must completely change the way they operate, rather, that they start by making a few tweaks to their current management strategies,� said Pharo.

Pharo challenged the audience to think outside the box and to be different and that things don�t always have to be done the same way. Pharo practices what he preaches and the result is a consistently profitable cow-calf business, something rarely seen year in and year out among beef producers today.

Curt Pate describes how sight, feel and sound are used in working cattle. These principles, when used correctly are applied to induce �pressure� on livestock in a low stress manner.

Curt Pate describes how sight, feel and sound are used in working cattle. These principles, when used correctly are applied to induce �pressure� on livestock in a low stress manner.
Curt Pate demonstrates the pressure distance required to get a positive reaction from the cattle. Pate stressed the importance of developing a presence to the livestock in a manner that would not cause fear but influence movement. Curt Pate demonstrates the pressure distance required to get a positive reaction from the cattle. Pate stressed the importance of developing a presence to the livestock in a manner that would not cause fear but influence movement.
Curt Pate demonstrates the pressure distance required to get a positive reaction from the cattle. Pate stressed the importance of developing a presence to the livestock in a manner that would not cause fear but influence movement.
Curt Pate provides a lesson on Foot Working cattle, probably the most common method of working cattle on average to smaller sized ranches. His advice was to work the nose of the animal and the rest will follow.
Curt Pate provides a lesson on Foot Working cattle, probably the most common method of working cattle on average to smaller sized ranches. His advice was to work the nose of the animal and the rest will follow.