If you have more than one full time employee for every thousand head of cows, or two thousand head of yearlings, you are over staffed. If you practice reduced stress cattle handling methods, and get through your cattle once or twice a week, the only time you should need extra help is when you are branding, weaning, shipping, or preconditioning.
Nearly everyone spends more time in their pickup or on four wheelers than they do a horse. In many cases (especially if your ranch is in rough country) you really can't go any faster in a pickup than you can on a horse. Even if your roads are in good enough shape to go faster, why burn the fuel and tear up an expensive truck or ATV? I recently talked with one rancher who runs 1,500 pairs, plus a few hundred yearling heifers. He is running three employees and burns up over 1,000 gallons of gas and diesel each month in three pickups checking waterlines. That is an expense of nearly $4,000 in fuel before you figure in wear and tear on the trucks, flat tires and an extra full time employee.
I have run 2,200 yearlings plus an additional 150 pairs on 50,000 acres with no help and burned less than 45 gallons of fuel a month (with the exception of running to town for mineral or other supplies every other month.) The amount of fuel NOT burned amounts to 820 gallons a month. At $3.40 gas this amounts a reduction in input amounts of over $30,000 a year in fuel expenses alone.
Your wheels are turning, and you are thinking of all of the longer hours you will be putting in without your pickup or ATV. When running the above ranch, I ran the waterlines on a motorcycle Saturday morning and was off the ranch by noon. I would do a quick run on Monday morning just to make sure there were no new leaks. During the week, I was seldom home later than 5 or 5:30.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me.