Volume 5, Issue 2 (July 2016)

The theme of this issue is stockmanship and range management. It begins with an article, Stockmanship and Range Management, by Whit Hibbard and Matt Barnes that argues that stockmanship is an integral—albeit over-looked and under-appreciated—part of range management. They conclude that “the higher our stockmanship skill level and the more manageable our cattle, the easier it is to undertake some form of planned grazing and, consequently, the more likely we are to do it, and the more likely it will be successful.”

Steve Cote, the author of Stockmanship: A Powerful Tool for Grazing Lands Management, writes about low-stress livestock handling for grazing public lands. He argues that for many agency and environmental people it will require a change in belief from “cattle are bad for the range” to “cattle are good for the range when properly managed.” For livestock producers, many will have to change some of their deeply held beliefs about cattle and how to handle them, because in order to control the results of grazing, they are going to have to control the cattle better than is conventionally done. Cote concludes that “the secret to healthier landscapes through cattle grazing is rather simple—holistic planned grazing and low-stress stockmanship.”

Next is a report by Jesse Bussard on the Stockmanship Symposium held at the 2016 Society for Range Management’s Annual Meeting in Corpus Christi.

Wayne Elmore, a nationally-recognized expert on stream and riparian recovery, reviews a dramatic 37 year longitudinal study of a stream and riparian area in Central Oregon that compared, in part, the effect of livestock grazing with livestock exclusion.

Predator mitigation is a concern in many parts of the west and stockmanship is now being used successfully as a mitigation strategy. Hilary Zaranek, a range rider with considerable experience and expertise in this area, writes about her experiences, including the benefits of gathered versus scattered herds, re-kindling the herd instinct to decrease vulnerability, and how humans can manage livestock with stockmanship in ways that make cattle less vulnerable to predation.

In his article, Cattle Handling Made Simple, Joel Ham, a Texas rancher and early student of Bud Williams, tells us some of what he learned from Bud about handling cattle.

Photo: Matt Barnes riding herd.

Photo: Matt Barnes riding herd.

In the Applied Stockmanship section, Matt Barnes and Whit Hibbard report on a three-week grazing experiment they conducted that focused on the practical application of stockmanship to achieve concentrated animal impact and more uniform grazing. In this project, they applied low-stress approaches to daily herding and night-penning cattle at relatively high stocking density (SD) within a rangeland pasture in a larger grazing rotation. In so doing, they increased herd instinct and used SD to increase animal impact in a target area, with benefits for rangeland forage production.

In this issue I Profile and Interview Joel Ham, who Bud told me once was “pretty good” which, coming from Bud, is a high compliment.

Both the Mythbusters and Research Pearls sections deal with our theme, and in Instructional Materials Review I review a great little pamphlet on stockmanship written by Bud Williams.