Cattle management expert shares drought management tips

News
May 10, 2013
by WLJ

Ranch managers and owners should remember they are managing production, marketing, management and financial sectors including the people that make it all work on the ranch. In challenging times, such as drought, managers can’t let their emotions from the stress of the drought interfere with their daily management decisions, says Burke Teichert, retired vice president of AgReserves, Orem, UT, during an interview with Lynn Gordon, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension beef cow/calf specialist.

Gordon interviewed Tiechert after his presentation during the 20th anniversary of Cattlemen’s College held in conjunction with the 2013 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention and Trade Show, Tampa, FL, in February. To view the video interview with Teichert, visit youtube.com/ watch?v=WtlAoOYJB BY.

Teichert is no stranger to the beef industry. He was employed for many years in a management role with AgReserves, which consisted of Dessert Ranches, Rex Ranch, and several other large ranching enterprises. His expertise in the area of managing forages and cattle resources during difficult times, such as drought, is also very applicable to South Dakota beef producers.

In this interview, Teichert says that during stressful situations, like drought conditions, we often don’t focus enough on the people involved. The stress of a drought takes the toll on managers, owners and employees of farms and ranches. He says this is primarily because of the fact that it brings out emotions in the people as they begin to worry about the many factors intertwined with a drought such as finances, overgrazing, the general well-being of the land, the cattle, and in some cases, the decision to sell cattle off, after a ranch has built up years of genetics.

Another challenge during drought or lack of moisture is the concern of accessing feedstuffs needed to maintain and feed the cow herd.

When a drought is as widespread as the 2012 drought was, Teichert said it is even more difficult because the area impacted is so large geographically that no one has excess feed.

Teichert’s bottom-line message was to educate producers to not overuse the resources from the land but rather utilize good grazing methods such as a wellplanned rotational grazing system. He emphasized that the earlier cattle producers start to destock, the less they will have to destock.

For more information on managing cattle during a drought, refer to igrow.org where SDSU Extension cow/calf and beef specialists have uploaded a number of resource articles, or contact one of the specialists directly. — WLJ

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