Differences Between Conventional Cattle Placment and Placing to Graze As a Herd

Circle Ranch - Low-Stress Loose-Herding

Here is an interesting piece by our friend “Cowboy” Bob Kinford, discussing cattle placement on a Nothern Mexico ranch where he was training recently.  If you can get it done, “loose-herding” is the way to manage herds.

In conventional placing, we hold the cattle in one place until they are grazing in different directions. This means that, while the cattle are in the same area, they spread out which also spreads out the herd impact. In placing cattle for holistic planned grazing, the object is to have the cattle mimic a herd. To do this the cattle need to be as close together as feed and terrain will allow, while grazing in the same direction to maximize herd impact and reduce selective grazing.

To do this we must first move the cattle with the least amount of stress as possible, then slow down the front of the herd until they start grazing and allow the rest of the cattle to catch up. While we can help the cattle in the back catch up, we need to let it all happen. Much of the time it will only take four or five grazing stops to have the cattle acting as a herd and grazing out together, and going to water together.

While on the Ganaderia Valle Colombia Ranch in Mexico we were working on several sets of cattle the first two days rather than concentrating on just one group. We started working on the cattle in this video on Wednesday, and by Friday they were beginning to come together as a herd. At the end of the video you will notice the cattle coming up and grazing towards the cattle at the lead and grazing as a herd.

In another few moves they will have all of the cattle grazing tightly together and be able to graze where they want, when they want, without building more fence while having their herd impact more concentrated than they do in their smaller pastures in the valley floor.

NOTE: Article originally appeared Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the Bovine Blog

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  • This is a desert. Why are you grazing cattle in the desert? Yuccas do not grow in lush grasslands. They grow in the desert. With all the moving you are doing, your beef is not going to all marbled and tender, and American consumers don’t like tough beef.

    Have you thought about raising jackrabbits? Probably would make more sense herding jackrabbits around than bovines in a desert — a grassless, waterless, desert. Truly white people are insane.

    • It is actually a desert grassland, a very productive one, and it always had cattle-like creatures: bison. As well as elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn,and mule deer. Cattle do very well here. So do many other wild animals. If you are familiar with the Serengheti in East Africa, that is similar in some places.

      As to grassless, waterless desert, this is what happens to desert grasslands when large grazers are removed. But these areas are very productive when they get animal impact.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • So, what you are saying is you’re training the cattle to stay together? Why is it they don’t want to stay together initially, is it because the cattle come from different herds and don’t want to stick initially? What is your time commitment to this? Every day going out and grouping the cattle?

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