Green-ups -a -commin! And – quick! Most regions in the southern plains are breaking over into a lush state of pasture and range conditions, while the high plains will take a bit longer. Many herds are now in the process of working herds and preparing to balance their AU’s to the land. Because of our ‘spring explosion’ that is normal, working herds a bit deeper into winter and up against ‘green-up’ can work well for managing parasites. There will also be a wide diversity in plants that normally occur that are naturally occurring wormers such as wild onions, willow chutes and bark, six to twelve variations of sumac, new growth on Pecan trees, and the #1 natural ‘native’ southern plains wormer plant – Artemisia or Wormwood. Google it and you will be surprised. The bison will select most of these plants in very short windows, while some will be selectable all year long and be grazed out if we don’t, or can’t rotate.
Working the herd is how we gauge the health of it by comparing weights from the year previous. We can learn a lot by recording and comparing body weight as instrumentation for productive and physical health. It is also true that we can learn a lot about our own proficiencies, as stewards, by recording the events of the work. Simply record the system ‘failures’ that occur, some will be perceived as animal behavior frustrations, then take the next year learning and experimenting with how to correct the problems. The higher the number of recorded ‘failures’ the lower the score and it will always follow that your returns will follow your score.
Personally, I try to remember that I am in charge of a pristine remnant of ‘native’ American western and ecological heritage, which also happens to now be the National Mammal of the United States [NMOTUS]. The species was celebrated this year, as such, at the National Bison Association winter conference in Denver. Many historic things are yet to come, and many have happened including identifying the North American Bison Registry [NABR] as the first ‘species registry’ in history. I suspect I am not the only one thinking we just might do all we can, for them, as they deal with people-stuff on the way to: the first modern million.