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Have any good advise or Highly recommended a good book on cattle ranching?

 
Philip Durso
Posts: 142
Location: Missoula, Montana (zone 4)
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I would like to start raising cattle but before i begin can anyone here offer any advice on where to start? I'd really like not to go broke doing it. Has anyone here in the formes started with zero experience & became successful at it? Stories of your "failures" or things that caught you by surprise would be great too. Is it something i can get a good handle on through WWoofing. I'm really only truly interested in using them to repair the soil (love how i don't have to explain that last bit here For those of you that think they have something to share but are on the fence about hammering out a reply, I'd like to respectfully ask you to reconsider. A two min tip typed up here may end up saving my or thousands of other permies readers hopes & dreams...not to mention reversing climate change & saving life on this planet as we know it
My dream is to move to ALAMOSA COUNTY and grow at least an inch of soil a year.
Thanks & "open invite" to my future "Food Savana" for anyone who replies
 
J W Richardson
Posts: 65
Location: Council, ID
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I was planning on posting this link over on the greening the desert forum, I'll put it here too.

http://managingwholes.com/

It's a site from a guy in Wallowa County, OR who has been working with the concepts for a while. I would try to get personally connected with these folks. Peter is totally into this and would love to help get you going. I would think going through them could be more fruitful than WWOOF.
These concepts have been around for awhile, but the general public/liberal cattle hater is just now finding out this connection through that recent TED talk from Savory. The larger picture to reversing desertification hasn't been made by the public - the information about fallow ungrazed ground ground desertifying without the ungulate interface is a bombshell!!
As soon as this information makes its way around, there should be a groundswell of support for this and hopefully federal monies for rehabbing public lands. In fact, if I were you I'd start bugging random BLM guys in the Alamosa county area and giving them this information if they don't already know about it.
 
Claire Gardner
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho
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Council Idaho...? Howdy, neighbor. Cambridge. Husband from Enterprise, we may have to cruise over to Wallowa County and meet this fellow. After all, it is just over the hill...
 
J W Richardson
Posts: 65
Location: Council, ID
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And a big howdy to you! Mike and Sarah Miller Hale are over there too, raising grassfed beef, I know Mike was into rangeland management too.. I lived over there for a few years, wow, 20 years ago. Such nice country.

They have a blog - http://bunchgrassbeef.blogspot.com/
 
Claire Gardner
Posts: 48
Location: Idaho
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Zumwalt Flats.... I believe I may have had a beer out there or two... I was sort of a young punk when I got there. Now I am an old punk.
 
                          
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Philip, before I can make any recommendations, I need to know a few things. How much land do you have and how many cattle do you think you can run? Will this be a full time income eventually? What's your marketing plan?
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 699
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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i recently read this book by greg judy:

http://www.greenpasturesfarm.net/store.php?prodID=12033&title=No_Risk_Ranching_itemno_


it opened my eyes to a few things, mainly not having to OWN the land you are running cattle on.
leasing is a great way to start out as the expenses are deductible and it allows you to control large plots with be little invested (vs buying the property)

Greg talks about what to look for on property youd like to lease, how to set up a property to be grazed and other things.
good book, and a good starting point imo.

are you referring to Alamosa, CO as the place to end up in?
I have wondered how well some of these methods would work down there. they get very little rain as i understand it, most of the water is pumped via circle pivots or diverted from the rio grande.
you may look into ways to get water to the herd when they are not on your land. (seems to be the biggest issue in CO)

if you are in southern CO and want to borrow this book, send me a PM and we will chat.
i am trying to figure out how to transition into ranching, but am not having much success.
 
J D Horn
Posts: 155
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I'll plug Chris Stelzer's blog and podcast. He has put together a great string of interviews with interesting cattlemen that he's made available for free. Plus he interned for Greg Judy, so he's had great training. http://agriculturalinsights.com/
 
Chris Stelzer
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Posts: 118
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J D Horn wrote:I'll plug Chris Stelzer's blog and podcast. He has put together a great string of interviews with interesting cattlemen that he's made available for free. Plus he interned for Greg Judy, so he's had great training. http://agriculturalinsights.com/


JD thank you for mentioning my website. I have done 3 ranching internships. One with Greg Judy, one with The James Ranch and one with Ian Mitchell-Innes in South Africa over the course of more than a year. I started out ranching on my own and it was a disaster. I read all the books but most of them didn't have the basic information like how to use a portable fencing reel and other fencing techniques. What about water? I had no clue about water and almost killed some livestock. What about high density grazing? I wanted to do it but didn't know how. I'm now writing my second eBook that puts a lot of these concepts that Allan Savory talks about into an easy to understand practical guide for the average Joe. I have a free version of this eBook which I wrote last year that doesn't include the information I learned from Ian Mitchell-Innes but still has some good stuff. You have to sign up for my email newsletter to get the free book. You can do that by going here:

http://agriculturalinsights.com/freeebook/

I hate to keep plugging myself but I was in the same situation some of you were in, you didn't know where to start. My blog is a great place to get to know other people and get started. I can always be reached via email too. Chris [at] agriculturalinsights.com

I've also organized a grazing conference that will take place in late July/early August this year in Colorado Springs, CO. I will have details on my website. www.agriculturalinsights.com

The Greg Judy book is a great place to start!

Chris
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 699
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
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Chris Stelzer wrote:

I've also organized a grazing conference that will take place in late July/early August this year in Colorado Springs, CO. I will have details on my website. www.agriculturalinsights.com

Chris


i would be interested in a colorado springs conference
i hope it would include some info related to dryland pastures (not everyone is irrigated here) as well as some ideas for smaller acreages?


i can vouch for Chris's first ebook. it really helped me piece stuff together.
 
Chris Stelzer
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Posts: 118
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Kelly,

Would you mind sending me an email so I can contact you when I put it all together? I want to make sure I don't leave you out! email me: Chris [at] AgriculturalInsights.com . It would be $500 for a 3 day course with Jim Elizondo, Mark Bader and Johan Zietsman. Very VERY high quality speakers!

Thank you.
 
Adam Klaus
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gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Highly reccomended resource is a magazine called Stockman Grass Farmer published by Alan Nation. It is all about rotational grazing, grass-fed animals, and soil fertility. I started raising dairy cattle seven years ago and it has been an invaluable resource.

Also the book Management Intensive Grazing by Jim Gerrish is an absolute wealth of information on pasture management and animal productivity.
and Salad Bar Beef by Joel Salatin is excellent, with its focus a little more towards the animal and human aspects of cattle husbandry.

If you get a chance, outside Durango is the James Ranch, pioneers in progressive cattle and pasture management. Definitely seeing their picture is worth well more than a thousand words.

Good luck! Raising cattle the right way is a true joy! Feel free to ask any questions, I love to talk cows in Colorado.
 
Chris Stelzer
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Posts: 118
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All of these are great resources and try to read as many different publications and books as you can. Then you can start to piece of lot of this stuff together. Grazing/ranching is an art and there are no right or wrong answers. It all depends on your goals. Take recommendations people make about how often to move your livestock with a grain of salt, they have never been to your land and probably don't even know where you live. There are no formulas for this stuff. It's about observation and management based upon those observations. There are some principles you can follow that will help you navigate the waters of ranching/grazing.
 
Harry Balsonya
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Philip, very interesting topic, I too am interested in cattle ranching. I would like to have a better understanding of the general startup requirements, or best practices if you will. Some of the areas I would like to be enlightened on are breeding, calf care, equipment, diseases, fencing, and heathcare. It seems that Gabe Hatfield was prepared to provide you with some recommendations, which may be beneficial to me as well, but you didn’t reply to his initial questions establishing a baseline. So for the sake of refreshing this topic, I will repost his questions.

How much land do you have and how many cattle do feel you can maintain? Note: please include land geography i.e. Mountains, Prairie, City (sarc)

Will this be a fulltime venture? Basically, are you doing this for income or do you envision this more of hobby side thing to dabble in.

If the objective is income, do you have a business plan? Beside purchasing the cattle, what initial startup sacrifices are you going to make? Do you have the resources or have you established financing?

Please provide a reply ASAP to refresh this most interesting topic.
 
Andy Reed
Posts: 85
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I have a simple tip for feeding. If a cow has eaten all her feed in less then 3hours she is underfed and losing weight, if 90% is gone in 3 hours she will be on maintenance feed, to be gaining weight there needs to be feed available for her during the late afternoon if you are feeding her in the morning. I think people get caught out by how much a cow needs to eat, or are overly optimistic about how much feed they can actually grow. Start with low numbers and add stock at the slowest growing part of the season. For some areas that's summer, for others its winter. Don't go out in late spring and think you can have more stock because you have excess feed. If you have a surplus during those slow growth periods you may be able to add more animals. If you never have a surplus you will not be building topsoil, unless you are importing a lot of feed.
 
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