Texas ranchers recently had the opportunity to attend a free Stockmanship Clinic on the Wagley Ranch in Graford, Texas.
The half-day program demonstrated effective stockmanship techniques to increase profit and make livestock handling easier, featuring renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Ron Gill, Texas AgriLife Extension Livestock Specialist. Gill has traveled the world since 2007 doing similar demonstrations in 47 states and five foreign countries. Gill’s interest in teaching these valuable tools has intensified over the years after seeing the performance and economic benefit from managing livestock behavior.
Gill started the day working cattle, discussing cattle movement on horseback and on foot. He showed how their movement was directly affected by his body position in relation to the cattle in the pen. He gave an overview of how to use the natural behavior and instincts of cattle to move them in an effective and reduced stress manner.
“You can actually use cattle’s natural instincts to train them,” Gill told the crowd in attendance. “Every time cattle are worked, it is a training opportunity.”
Gill gave demonstrations on how to pen cattle, how to sort cattle in the pen, and how to load cattle on a trailer utilizing low stress handling methods.
“You can improve their performance and gain, and the quality of beef they produce, simply by adjusting your method of handling them,” Gill explained.
Dr. Glen Rogers, veterinarian and local cattlemen, also shared his experiences how low stress handling techniques benefit animal health and rotational grazing systems on his heifer operation.
“Even small things, like the time of day you work your cattle can make a big difference,” Rogers stressed.
Rogers explained how he has changed his management techniques over the years to put more emphasis on stewardship and stockmanship.
“Now, when we work cattle, its not how fast we can do it, but how quietly and efficiently we can process cattle through the chute,” he said.
The Cross Timbers Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI), USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Texas AgriLife Extension hosted the clinic.