A recent article on the Modern Farmer website titled “Wary of Wolves, Some Western Ranchers Return to Life on the Range” highlights Holistic Management practitioner, Glenn Elzinga and his family of Alderspring Ranch.
Glenn notes that he was losing $35,000 a year to predation until he decided to use a management technique called “inherding” where he and his family and interns actually live with their cattle herd during the growing season in areas where there is more predation pressure on their Idaho public land grazing allotment.
The results from using this technique was an increase in livestock weight gains for an additional value of $2/day for a $100,000 increase in herd value by the end of the growing season. Weight gains were a result of changed herd behavior as the animals were bunched more tightly during the day, increasing competition among the livestock for valued forage. In addition, the herding also resulted in improved control of the livestock so they don’t overgraze sensitive riparian areas where they might normally hang out.
The ranch team takes turn staying with the approximately 500 yearlings and keeping them contained to approximately 10 acres at a time. Then at night they take 15 minutes to set up one hot polywire near camp to contain and protect the animals in an approximate 100 feet by 100 feet space. All of this herding and moving is done with low-stress livestock handling that can take awhile for new interns to learn.
To learn more about other innovative conservation ranching techniques, visit our “Holistic Approach to Soil and Conservation” page.