Southern Plains Bison: Dec 2015

Southern Plains Pointers December 2015   This holiday season was nothing short of a roller-coaster for folks and bison in the southern plains. We went from Christmas in the 70’s to spring jet-stream collisions and tornadoes, to drifting snow and ice in a period of a week. This kind of stuff really brings into focus the bison-advantage of resilience and durability.  Our job, as stewards, is to make the performance of natural behaviors possible. Observing your herd’s behavior in times of environmental extremes can aid you in knowing how to manage for it.   Sales, conferences, shows, gatherings and bison-works … Read more

Southern Plains Bison: Sept 2015

It’s Official! Texas and the southern plains are back in a drought. Just last spring, we were literally under water. Some regions are becoming severe while others are just dang dusty. Unfortunately, the drought is hitting southern plains bison herds at the worst time of year for health and reproduction. Some bison will be resilient on their own, while others will depend on the human element for health.  This year what’s happening is a perfect storm for causing unhappy bison producers for the following reasons. 1] Excessive rains [understatement] in the spring propelled excessive parasites in the habitats. We had … Read more

Articles & Publications

Articles & Publications From time to time I run across a great bison-related article, and sometimes the author lets me share. The Frontier Army and the Destruction of the Buffalo: 1865-1883 David D . Smits Did the buffalo roam? by Rufus Ward Reinterpreting the 1882 Bison Population Collapse By Sierra Dawn Stoneberg Holt, PhD The Battle of Adobe Walls  By E.C. Little 1909 Where the buffalo Dont Roam By T. Frasier Should Oregon Have A Bison Range by William L. Finley -1944  

Eat The Weeds

Bee on flower

I’m writing this to you at the stroke of midnight on April Fool’s 2015. Don’t be a fool and take out your beneficial forbs and so-called “weeds” thinking a monoculture pasture is ideal. Many such plants are desirable as vermifuges, micronutrient resources, palatable food sources, window species and/or pollinator resources. Here’s a quick list of goodies in the spring lush: Plantain Wild onion Medic/vetch/clover Sedge Artemesia Asparagus Chickweed Cleavers Dandelion Chicory Greenbriar There are plenty more where those came from. I’m available for site visits and consultations if you’re interested in working with nature and maximizing productivity. May all your … Read more

Southern Plains Bison: Feb 2015

February in the Southern Plains is a time for questions and checking the management-boxes for preparedness to leave the herd alone throughout the calving season. Some of those questions and boxes are: Am I feeding them too much in the last trimester?   Is my mineral program up to speed? Do I have an orphan kit organized?   Are my herd populations in balance with my grass through July/August?   Does the herd ‘appear’ healthy?   Personally I don’t like handling or changing up the populations during the calving season. The less we impact their world while they are calving, … Read more

Blanket of Snow Feb 2015

When this blanket of snow at the end of February melts gently into the landscape the steady crescendo into the symphony of spring will paint an idyllic image of green abundance.  If only the real world were that simple.  Simple may be adequate and elegant but it misses the opportunities found in nuance, diversity and productivity. What I’m hinting at is that since we live in a place where drastic change in weather is the norm, maximize the potential for positive productivity while improving the ecosystem and landscape with proper processes.  A healthy and resilient grazing landscape has a diversity … Read more

Simple moves you should make

When this blanket of snow at the end of February melts gently into the landscape the steady crescendo into the symphony of spring will paint an idyllic image of green abundance.  If only the real world were that simple.  Simple may be adequate and elegant but it misses the opportunities found in nuance, diversity and productivity. What I’m hinting at is that since we live in a place where drastic change in weather is the norm, maximize the potential for positive productivity while improving the ecosystem and landscape with proper processes.  A healthy and resilient grazing landscape has a diversity … Read more

Southern Plains Bison: Jan 2015

Getting Over the ‘Hump’ Thanks to an unusual November and an atypical polar blast, the southern plains is experiencing less winter forage than we usually enjoy. Even the dedicated forage-croppers are unusually stressed for feed, causing the need for additional supplementation for bison health. This reality can vary widely within the southern plains depending on the eco-region-home; where the buffalo roam. Texas, for example, contains 11 different eco-regions and a wide variation of realities for bison with regard to winter forage and ‘green-up’ planning strategies affecting both the physical and fiscal health of the herd. Different eco-regions have different plant … Read more

Grow Where You’re Planted

As a certified plant geek, all I can say is ‘wow!’ every time I see one (seriously). The marvels of regenerative solar collectors providing food, fiber, medicine, inspiration, clean air and water, habitat, recreation and so much more can be an endless preoccupation. There is an active conversation around ‘invasion biology’ these days, that is, what does ‘native’ or ‘restoration’ truly mean and are introduced species ‘invasive’. Bloodletting aside, common sense should be our guide. The conservation minded will argue that pre-Columbian flora/fauna is pristine and spend untold funds to herbicide the exotics. An opposite extreme is to say there … Read more

Organic Matters

‘No field was ever plowed by turning it over in your mind’…and yet that is what I would recommend as a land management  goal. You see, tillage is a destructive practice that oxidizes away your organic matter. Why care? Without it you have a lifeless mineral matrix whose sole purpose is to prop up crops with an endless need for capital and labor intensive inputs of water, fertilizer and biocides. For my money, I’m going to do all I can to amplify the positive effects of a living soil food web. That means mimicking a natural ecosystem which includes cycling … Read more