It's safe to say ranchers are busy year-round but spring seems to evoke an extra level of busyness! A recent poll by Beef Magazine found "completing paperwork" as ranchers' least favorite chore. Spring weather doesn't mean less paperwork, but there are certainly plenty of other things to get done to distract even the busiest rancher from more paperwork!
Since there is no such thing as a "typical day" on a ranch, ranchers are adept at adjusting to challenges thrown their way - particularly in the spring. Whether it is tending to irrigation sprinklers, repairing equipment, branding and moving cattle, or fixing fence, ranchers have a never-ending list to complete.
Spring is an exciting and busy time on the ranch. New life and the hope of productive days lay in wait. The weather might not show it but the sights, smells and sounds tell us spring is here!
5 Signs of Spring on the Ranch
- Healthy pastures = joy
Healthy pastures may appear to be uncomplicated, but keeping them healthy, productive and safe for animals requires proper management. Good pasture management results in better weed control, improves and protects the soil, increases forage production, extends the life of pastures, and encourages better animal health. Ranchers exhale a sigh of relief when they have healthy pastures.
Moving, moving, moving
Ranchers spend a significant amount of time in the spring rounding up cattle and moving them to pasture. Grazing one week too early in the spring can sacrifice three weeks of grazing in the fall. Ranchers know you manage for what you want, not what you don't want. Proper grazing management is a matter of moving animals before they have the opportunity to overgraze the lush growth - which means cattle are moved based on the growth rate of the pasture and height of the forage.
Repairing and building fence
No matter how mild the winter, come spring there always seems to be fences to repair and build. Most ranchers agree it is a never-ending job! While ranchers want their fences to look good, they are more interested in the fence doing its job. That's where an air-powered fence post driver comes in handy. It saves on labor costs, potential medical bills, and most importantly, time.
Mud is often an annoying by-product of spring. For spring-calving operations, mud can be deadly. Prolonged periods of standing in mud can cause lameness and infection in cattle. Mud harbors bacteria, which can affect cattle health - especially in baby calves. A good prevention measure in pens is built up soil or bedding where cattle can be on dry ground.
Celebrating and cursing
Few things scream spring like healthy calves on the ground! Calving season is often considered peak season on the ranch. It isn't uncommon to see a rancher both celebrate and curse in the same day of calving season, as Murphy's Law of "Whatever can go wrong - will," often comes into play. Calving season can be exhausting, but the rewards typically outweigh the challenges - typically!
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