Well we’ve had a little rain. Some more than others and that’s just the way it is. While our neighbors in the bison world from the north draw a deep breath and let a sigh of relief after last winter, I envy their relief as I brace for making crucial decisions, planning ahead and watching closely how our herds handle summer in the southern plains. We’re not there yet, but the heat lamps-a- comm’in, and like us, our bison will slow down and shift many behaviors to cope.
Our job is to strategically plan to save pastures that provide the ability of the bison to perform natural behaviors in response to the dog-days which are inevitable. Now is the time to plan for such strategies instead of being caught without any alternatives. Personally, if I have a brushy pasture that is full of mesquite, I consider that pasture an ace up my sleeve and leave it for later in case we go dry. When we’re dry, in many regions of Texas and the southern plains, mesquite and other bean producing trees and brush will be at peak production. Conversely when we have a wet year, the beans don’t come as much. Saving those rotation options until summer reveals itself, is a strategic pasture rotation plan. If you have no cross-fencing to provide for pasture rotation, the bison will be mesquite-magnets if things get tuff. The beans are highly nutritious and come off in sync with the seasonal breeding season of bison.
Other behaviors that shift in response to the southern plains summers include the bison becoming more nocturnal in their grazing habits, more [brushed up] during the middle day, more riparian system interactive, and hopefully more exposed to their human counterparts playing along by interacting with them only at dusk or evening.
For now; enjoy what’s left of spring, conserve your resource-strongholds, keep and start planning for the worst. The bison will tell you what strategy to employ, if you keep an eye on them and listen…
Tim Frasier, Frasier Bison L.L.C.