Southern Plains Bison: Sept 2014

Busy-busy-busy! Fall in the southern plains is the best and most productive time to be busy in preparation for the cool-season, which is our strongest growing season in the south.  Whether you apply conventional agriculture methods or forward regenerative practices, getting some land care and habitat enhancement boxes checked will be to your advantage. Personally I like as much diversity in my food plot and pasture system as possible. Each year I plan strategic additions to a pragmatic end for soil structure health, bison-forage and wildlife benefit.  It’s always an experiment and always beneficial to my system, which includes the … Read more

At the Waters’ Edge: Sept 2014

      Earth is the water planet. Sometimes we lose sight of that out here on the dry plains. The average ranching mindset considers a stock tank or pond simply as a drinking station for livestock. For me, it can be so much more. I’m a fan of the beaver. This little ecological engineering keystone species works tirelessly to construct habitat for itself that directly benefits everyone else in the ecosystem. Before they were trapped and slaughtered en masse, 90 million or so of these guys dammed waterways and spread water out over the landscape where lush vegetation and … Read more

Southern Plains Bison: Aug 2014

Southern Plains Bison A Time for Questions – Not Answers! Many bison herd-managers and owners, feel that they are winding up the breeding season and are; pretty much ‘bred-up’ by now. If the largest percentage of the calves come in late March and April, this could be an accurate assessment of your situation. However if more calves are born to the herd in mid-May and June, then the math ‘don’t match’ for the herd to be ‘bred up by now’, or yet. September conceptions = May & June calves. The gestation period of North American bison is credibly conveyed as between … Read more

“The Secret Life of Weeds” Aug 2014

One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.  Some may consider weeds as a vile curse, others may see them as simply a nuisance.  How do you see a weed?  Typically a weed is best defined as any plant growing in the wrong place which obviously makes for a broad subject to discuss.  We try to grow crops, livestock or landscapes for our purposes and these unwanted visitors pop up and free-load from us.  Maybe they have something to say. Weeds are typically categorized as perennials or annuals.  The annuals have an amazing ability to pop up in massive numbers under … Read more

Summer Reservations: July 2014

This seems like the coolest summer ever! With August upon us, I’m still cautiously optimistic that it won’t be the typical heat wave. Seven inches of rain last week was heaven-sent. If you’re also experiencing greener pastures at this time, be mindful to avoid overgrazing. Forage plants need recovery time between grazing cycles to allow the energy gathered from photosynthesis to rebuild the root system. This can vary with species and climate or soil conditions. Plants weakened by drought or other stresses can put out a lot of new growth in these unseasonably spring-like conditions with a still fragile root … Read more

Southern Plains Bison: July 2014

Southern Bison It ain’t very cold out there!  Actually going into August sucks no matter where you call home in North America. Things like nutritional regimes, ambient temperature and behaviors are changing. Bison in the south are more equipped for the southern plains heat than you think.  The latter is a true statement with the caveat that; If_ they are prepared for harsh environmental conditions with adequate nutrition and energy reserve. It takes energy to operate normal bodily functions, juvenile growth and it takes energy to stay cool. The energy reserve is absent when the bison look thin [or hollow] … Read more

Rainfall Amounts; June 2014

I’d like to congratulate all of you who received plentiful rainfall this year.  We’ve missed out on most of it here in the northern kingdom but still have our fingers crossed. I’m hearing reports of verdant pastures and wildflowers from places that have been parched for too long. Now, look at those lovely green acres and imagine that you could keep that going even in drought cycles.  How?  Strategic water conveyance!  Yes, water harvesting swales, structures, techniques and technology takes the rain falling on your ranch and puts it to work for you instead of letting it run away to … Read more

Botanical Solutions for Internal Parasites

While internal parasites are a fact of life in ranching, there are alternative holistic solutions available to assist in their suppression. A high priority should be rotational paddock shift grazing and the encouragement of dung beetle populations. A healthy mixed sward pasture including medicinal forbs is also very important. Access to tannin rich browseable trees such as oak, mesquite, hickory, locust, elm, etc have a strong negative effect on the worms. Specific plants proven to possess vermicidal/anthelmintic properties are Wormwood (Artemesia), Wormseed or Epazote, Garlic, Senna, Pumpkin seed, Prickly Ash, Monarda, Black Walnut, Tobacco, Neem and Pomegranate root, among others. … Read more

Useful Medicinal Plants part 2:

Oak – There are hundreds of species of oaks all around the northern hemisphere in all types of habitat. Oaks are used for their durable wood, desirable ornamental qualities and edible acorns (for wildlife, at least). Indigenous peoples relied heavily on acorns as a staple food source when properly processed. The bitter properties in acorns are tannins which are useful medicinally as an astringent to staunch bleeding, as an antiseptic wash and to strengthen bleeding gums. The most concentrated tannins are found in oak bark, acorn caps and galls (round growths formed around the larvae of tiny wasps).   Elm … Read more

Southern Plains Bison: Feb 2014

   Green-up’s here! Yee-haw! What a great place to live if you’re a [Native Grazer] while your relatives in the north battle blue storms and last mile of what can only be referred to this year as a marathon winter.  Our green-up in the southern plains is very aggressive and prolific. Something else happens during the green-up, also aggressive and prolific… worms! The land of early spring-plenty is also the land of early internal parasite attack. This preemptive parasite strike on your bison, will not visibly take its toll on body-score and health until just before the breeding season.  Just … Read more