A question from the Sep 15 webinar with Dale...

What's your experience with ranchers on public lands? In your experience, what's been the BLM's / Forest Service's appetite for permittees/allotment owners moving hot wire and installing more drinkers to facilitate grazing of paddocks vs. pastures?

Anyone have experience with this?
Lee, one emerging option to hot wiring pastures on federal lands is the use of virtual fence:
“How can we manage livestock without structure? Now there are endless possibilities. You can sit on your screen, figure out where you want to send your animals, how long you want them there and how you are going to move your animals across the landscape,” says Hilary Boyd, assistant field manager in the BLM’s Colorado River Valley Field Office. “It just gives us so much more flexibility.”

Funded in part by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, programs for both wildlife and rangeland at the BLM and Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program, the first-ever virtual fencing program has grown from one rancher with about 135 cows to more than 2,000 cows in its first two years. There are 10 towers in Eagle and Garfield counties pinging virtual fences that span 500,000 acres. More are coming.​

For land managers and ranchers who rest and rotate pastures — leaving them ungrazed for consecutive seasons to allow native grasses to flourish — virtual fencing “is how you create more grass,” says Pat Luark, who has grazed his family’s cattle on public lands near his ranch above Burns for more than 60 years. https://coloradosun.com/2022/09/21/...&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue newsletter

Thanks Stan, your suggestion of using herding is a time-honored tradition. I remember a friend of mine in graduate school... he was from Utah and his summers were spent astride a horse herding cattle from pasture to pasture and he had lots of stories, reminiscent of Michael Martin Murphy's "Cowboy Songs."

One of the best resources I know for herding is Steve Cote's book Stockmanship. He uses Bud Williams' techniques and discusses how horses think and learn to safely and effectively herd cattle and keep them calm.

Temple Grandin posted the whole book on her website here. In addition, there are some up to date resources at Steve's site including a new version of the book. You can buy the book and see other resources here.

Steve writes in his preface, "This remarkable method of handling cattle is the best and perhaps only practical solution to solving one of the most pressing and difficult range management problems in the West: Protecting and enhancing riparian and other critical areas."


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