This week on the “Resilience Rodeo”, Tyler Moore talks about the benefits of partnerships when time and resources are limited, and how even in partnerships and on rented land, rotational grazing can benefit the land and all of the involved parties.
Tyler Moore grazes his cattle on rented land with a close friend, and the appeal of their rotational grazing practice piqued the interest of the landowner as well, who even allowed them to rent the land at a lower bid than some other offers that were made, just from knowing the short- and long-term benefits of Tyler’s grazing management. This pooling of resources has worked out fantastically for all parties, increasing time, manpower, and other resources while benefiting the land, their cattle, and their families as well.
1) What one thing have you done that has been most important to the success of your operation?
I think the one thing that we've done that's been most important is cross fencing.
2) Can you recall a moment or time when the light bulb went on for you to change the way you were grazing?
Running cattle with a neighbor was one of the main eye openers from grazing school that got to where we are today, I guess.
3) What surprised you most when you changed the way you were grazing?
What surprised me most when we changed the way we were grazing is the ease of implementing the rotational grazing system. I am fortunate enough in my two big units of cows to have our grass pretty close together. How quickly cows adapt to getting moved. I call cows to lead them to the next pasture. We do very little chasing.
4) What would you say is the biggest misconception people have who are not managing their grazing system for resiliency and soil health?
The biggest misconception is I don't think people fully understand how grass works. To clarify that, how to utilize warm and cool season grasses. Most people look at their pastures and say, "I have grass," but they don't fully grasp when the best time to utilize that grass is. Your cool seasons, early in the spring and late in the fall. Your warm seasons, middle of the summer, and adjust your grazing schedule by the types of grasses you have.
5) Is there something you'd still like to do that you haven't yet to improve your soil health and grazing system?
I suppose the ideal answer would be to do daily moves. I don't know if we'll get there or not. But that and improve our native plant species. Maybe we do that by leaving paddocks one year and burning them the next with fire to establish maybe what's there. Do we maybe burn some off and try planting some warm season grasses in there? But that would probably be the next step.
6) What advice do you have for someone who is considering changing the grazing system to one that is better for building soil health?
Advice I would give to somebody interested in doing this would be, I guess, that grazing school was a huge part of where I got to where I am today. A lot of people with the same ideas on promoting growth, grass health, maybe reaching out to a producer who is currently practicing a rotational grazing system. Those would be the two things, I guess.
7) When you walk across your grasslands, what do you look for as an indicator of healthy grasslands and healthy soil?
When I'm walking across my grassland, I look for an abundance of leaf structure. The leaves are solar panels, which create photosynthesis and allow our grass to recover quickly. A dense plant structure and then just a variety of different species. That's been one of the main things I started to notice. You don't just have a monoculture of grass, you have several other different species of grasses starting to show up.
8) What change have you made that at first, you thought wouldn't work, if any?
One thing, I ran into little pneumonia issues this year, but I think when I got the pneumonia issues, I was having a real stress on my water infrastructure and a couple of our paddocks. Maybe we didn't quite have the capacity when we went through these real hot days. But that's on me... I was a contributor to that factor, I guess.
9) What are the signs your land is resilient? And what does resiliency mean to you?
One of the signs my land is resilient is we are currently in a pretty good drought going on. And as you drive down the road, that grass that has had that 60 days rest is dark green and it's thick and it's even. I think a lot of people's misconception with the grass is they have brome that's tall and headed out, and they say, "Hey, I got all this grass."
10) There are three R grazing management words important to resilient range lands; rotate, rest, and recover. Which of those three words do you relate to most and why?
The three R words, rotate, rest, and recover, I would say they all go hand in hand. You can't really put an emphasis on anyone in particular because they were all knitted together, and you can't have one without the other.
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