The Pastures Were Overgrazed...

Updated: Jun 24, 2021

This is how I feel.


When I drive by our pastures with the grass all eaten to the ground I feel


Sad

Frustrated

Hopeless

Ashamed

Regretful


Our duty, our mission, our objective in each of our days is to take care of the land and animals in our care.


We overgrazed our pastures last year.


Our choices included—

A: less than ideal situation

B: another less than ideal situation


That’s how how the cards are dealt sometimes. We don’t always have a good option; we are left to choose the lesser of two evils and find a way to mitigate the damage.


We didn’t want to graze our pastures that hard. We prayed for rain. We are still praying for rain. It pains me to drive by the short grass as much or more as it pains you to see the land cared for that way.


We had to choose between a less than ideal situation and a bad situation. In the fall of 2019 we were absolutely plastered with excessive moisture. It turned out fields and the feedlot into a deep mud hole. It completely flooded our river pasture before we were able to graze it for the year. We literally didn’t have a good place for our cattle to go.


When spring 2020 came we got all our cattle on grass as soon as possible. We were trying to save their feet and get them healthy. Then the rain shut off and we went straight into a drought. The summer and fall turned dry. Our pastures didn’t get much regrowth.


Even now, if we could go back knowing the rain still wouldn’t have come yet, I’m not sure we could have afforded to buy the hay to bring them home sooner. I do know we didn't have a great place to put them if we brought them home early. I also know time was already short last fall trying to harvest without having to do full chores before leaving the yard for the fields each day.


Maybe the crystal ball would have shown us we needed to sell more cows a couple years ago? Maybe that’s how far back I’d make a change?


I’m taking notes. I’m gathering new ideas. I’m consciously keeping my decision bias in check. I’m always learning. I’m always working to do better with the hand I’m dealt.


In agriculture, there are textbook protocols formed with research that give us guidance much like other industries. Then we have real world scenarios that include countless factors out of our control. It feels like once we get a handle on a situation, it will never play out that way again. Agriculture doesn't give us the opportunity to fine tune a process then make it repeatable. We are continuously adapting as the factors change.


We had to choose between a less than ideal situation and a bad situation. In the fall of 2019 we were absolutely plastered with excessive moisture. It turned out fields and the feedlot into a deep mud hole. It completely flooded our river pasture. We literally didn’t have a good place for our cattle to go.


When spring 2020 came we got all our cattle on grass as soon as possible. We were trying to save their feet and get them healthy. Then the rain shut off and we went straight into a drought. The summer and fall turned dry. Our pastures didn’t get much regrowth.