Draft a Long-Term Grazing Plan Upon Buying Oregon Ranches for Sale
Drought is agriculture’s worst enemy. A major water shortage can put food production—from corn to cattle—to a total standstill. California should be a wake-up call for the rest of the country to prepare a long-term plan to mitigate its effects. As it stands, it’s unlikely for this year’s drought to end anytime soon.
For ranches, priority is on making sure there’s plenty of grass to go around without putting a big dent on beef production. Ranchers must guide their herds to specific grazing partitions while allowing the rest of the pastures to regrow, called rotational grazing. This system is best done prior to a major drought.
Grazing systems might reduce output, but it’s better than running out of grass to feed your cattle when the dry spell hits. Livestock specialist Kris Ringwall says ranchers that “push the limit of production” face greater uncertainty. Aiming for the long-term average can sustain production runs throughout the year instead of grinding to a halt during drought.
There are several grazing strategies ranchers can employ, but the plan need not be complex. Most of the time, a single strategy would suffice. Rest-rotation grazing, for instance, partitions the grazing field and selects ones to rest and ones to graze on. Intensively-managed grazing follows a similar concept but is designed for larger pastures.
To determine the timeline for these strategies, you need to know where the drought is heading. The National Drought Mitigation Center maintains and updates drought maps to help ranchers and farmers determine the areas likely to be affected next. Ringwall suggests integrating these maps into standard ranching protocol.
It’s also important to get ranch management services like Mirr Ranch Group to help you plan your next move. As these services are also in the business of listing ranches for sale in Oregon and elsewhere, they’re also familiar with maintaining their productivity. Grazing strategies aside, they’ll also plan water utilization and development.
If it’s possible to farm in the desert, then it’s possible to sustain production in a drought-stricken area. With the weather growing more unpredictable, all the more ranchers and farmers should draw up a long-term sustainability plan. For would-be ranchers and farmers, draw up your plans while looking or buying Oregon ranches for sale.
“Long-term grazing plans a necessity,” Agweek, April 15, 2015
“Grazing Systems: Rotation Grazing Alternatives,” National Drought Mitigation Center