Growing up in Arkansas, the thought of making a day- or weekend-trip to Colorado never once crossed my mind. Colorado and the mountains were these things off in the distance, another part of the country. Now that I live in the Panhandle, I can drive to Colorado in just a few hours. This weekend I took a trip to Canon City and Salida, Colorado. While there we visited the headwaters of the Arkansas River, the Collegiate Peaks, and the San Isabel and Pike National Forests. Then on the way home we climbed an 8,200 ft volcano. (View more photos and hear about this trip in this post on my Sitting in the Pasture blog) What a great weekend getaway!

After my summer spent on a Wyoming ranch in the Big Horn mountains, I gained an appreciation for the management of pasture and grazing lands. There is much work that goes into keeping a balance between the environment and livestock systems. Grazing is an integral part to keeping balance in rangelands and we can learn to manage our livestock to be beneficial to this system.

During the Fall season, many yearling and cow-calf herds are coming down from mountains pastures into the bottoms for the winter season. The growing season in these pastures is limited due to cooler temperatures, limited rainfall, and winter precipitation. Ranchers have spent all summer monitoring their forage usage in these pastures and are already planning on next year’s  grazing season.

What factors do ranchers consider when creating a grazing strategy and forage utilization plan? Think about this, leave your questions or comments on this page, and I will follow up on this to give you an idea of all the factors ranchers consider when monitoring rangeland and grazing practices.

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