Beef Buzz News
TCU Ranch Management Director Offers Suggestions On Drought Recovery
Thu, 15 Mar 2012 17:04:48 CDT
Ron Hays Interviews Jeff Geider on pasture recovery.
The drought of 2011 has thrown beef producers across the Southwest for a loop and recovery is slow. Herds have been liquidated and rain is slow in coming. So, what can beef producers do to try and maximize their recovery efforts without damaging still fragile pastures?
Jeff Geider, the director of Texas Christian University’s Institute of Ranch Management says now is the time for judicious and specific action.
“I would preface it by saying there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Our approach through the ranch management program is a systems approach. We inventory our resources, we evaluate our resources and then we try to adapt a management plan to what resources we have available to us.”
He says proper forage evaluation is crucial to prevent further damage. This is not the time for guess work, but solid analysis. He recommends producers get out in their pastures and do a thorough inventory. Now is the time for ranchers to “take forage clips, forage samples, walk transect lines, identify what species they have and then based on how many pounds of forage produced per acre they could establish that stocking rate.”
And, he says stocking rates should be fairly conservative.
“In a drought recovery program, you would probably want to allow for less animal units on the stocking plan.
“The number one key is proper utilization. And in the circumstances we’ve just gone through what that means is that we’ve got to rest our pastures. Even if it begins raining somewhere near normal levels back in the southwestern United States, we’re still going to have to give our pastures a lot of rest. And it’s going to take time. Unfortunately the recovery process in the native pasture takes a lot longer than it does in an introduced pasture where you can somewhat control the nutrient requirements of the soil and somewhat control the water if you have irrigation.”
Geider’s recommendations have been time tested and are constantly evolving in his work with the Institute of Ranch Management at TCU. The intensive nine-month program puts students and faculty out on the land developing the assessment and management skills that Geider is advising for recovery from the current drought.
You can hear the full interview with Jeff Geider by clicking the LISTEN BAR below.
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