Monday, September 16, 2019

Working Cow Podcast Interviews Wyoming Rancher on IMG

Sometimes I realize that to some, IMG (Instinctive Migratory Grazing) sounds so far out in left field that they think I sound crazier than a pet coon. However listening to Clay Conroy's interview of east Wyoming Rancher, Riki Kremmers, it sounds pretty logical. You can listen to the interview here

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tall Grass Prairies?

Several months ago a well known stockmanship clinician mentioned being in Kansas and claiming the views were much like the first pioneers had. I resisted the urge to comment at the time, but as I have just finished working with the third ranch in "tall grass" country I can no longer resist that urge.

By all accounts, the grass was actually so tall a man on a horse couldn't see where he was going. Save for a few trees along stream banks, there were no trees, and even less brush. Compare that with what we have today. Even Big Blue stem grass is commonly under three foot tall. Draws close to creeks can be totally choked with trees as in this picture.
While forbes are part of a healthy ecosystem, they need to be balanced with a diverse amount of grasses. The point the tall grass country is in, with some areas entirely composed of weeds, and up to 40 or 50% of the mix in the "good grass" is a wake up call that the ecosystem is in decline, and will only degenerate faster unless we change our grazing methods. When you think of the pioneers coming through a sea of 5 to 7 foot tall grass, how can we think of what we have today as "tall grass prairie?
If the prairie was even in remotely the same condition as the pioneers saw it, you would have to have flags flying above your fences so you could know where it was. Instead conditions like the above picture are more common than not. The picture below is a fence line comparison between a client who has been practicing IMG for two years, so reversing these conditions isn't impossible.
As you can see, there is a distinct difference in not only the amount of grass from their neighbor on the left, but also in the height of the grass. Large parts of Kansas (as well as Nebraska and the Dakotas) are largely dependent upon dams and small streams to water their cattle. This means it is a perfect place to utilize IMG techniques so that cattle can migrate as a herd and create enough impact to improve soil health and the balance of our pastures while adding both height to these tall grass prairies without any added infrastructure . The picture below was taken at a school just outside of Council Grove, Kansas last week. All we did was point 1,300 to this draw when they came off of water (something which at this point, would be a one man job)
Because the nutritional value of the grass is declining at this time of year, the cattle tend to spread out, but are still grazing as a herd, selecting the highest value nutrition, which includes "inedible" weeds and grasses which conventional management tries to eradicate. These cows have been hitting Cord grass so hard the manager is sending in a sample to his boss to test it's nutritional value. 
While the cattle do spread out while following their grazing path, they also come to areas where, with no human guidance, they come into very tight groups such as this, which happened on the fourth day of the school.

The tall grass prairies need to be restored before they are completely destroyed, which judging by the amount of regression, and comparing it to the speed at which other areas have regressed when in this condition will be under thirty years, maybe in as little as twenty years. This can be reversed in five to ten years time using IMG methods to graze, without having to spend a dime in infrastructure costs, hiring full time herders, or even your current labor force needing to be in the cattle everyday.
For more information, visit

Monday, May 20, 2019

Are Current Climate Models Incomplete And Therefore Inaccurate?

A couple of years back I published a post questioning how much humans were to blame for climate change. In it, I also touched on the question of why scientists consider desertification as a symptom rather than a driver of  man made climate change. Apparently these scientists consider roughly 293,000,000 acres of desertified ground between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico to be too minor of an issue to be anything more than a symptom of climate change (while ignoring similar desertified land masses on other continents.)

Current models measure air currents and atmospheric gasses while ignoring how ground conditions,ie: amount of forage on the ground also act as a driving force for upper air currents. These models also leave out the calculations for how much greenhouse gasses would be reduced if desertification was reversed worldwide.

Part of the curiosity stems from the facts that Sahara Desert has fossils of mega flora, and evidence of massive irrigation systems. I was told by one researcher that the only way climate scientists have been able to recreate the moisture needed for the kinds of fossils found, was to add the plants, and the moisture came. Nazca Peru, the driest place in the world, has ruins of irrigation systems, along with root systems four feet below the barren ground. In addition to these two situations, weather researchers have observed historical rainfall patterns changing in locations where a single farmer changes from conventional methods to no till, cover crop methods.

This begs the question as to the accuracy of current climate models which ignore desertification. Wouldn't climate models be more accurate if climate models also took into account ground temperatures from global desertification and water cycle changes from urbanization of large areas? Is it possible that grasses and vegetation drive upper air currents as much as atmospheric gasses? Considering not a single domesday prediction from the "settled science" based on current models has come close to occuring, it would seem that the incomplete climate models would be inaccurate. This leaves the possibility that most of man made climate change could be alleviated by simply regenerating lands which have become desertified.

For more information on reversing desertification visit


Friday, May 10, 2019

Misguided Intentions

 Good intentions may be all but useless unless one takes a look at the whole before taking action. Such is the discussion about why the plan of the American Prairie Reserve is misguided. They fail to recognize that the prairies were not developed by bison alone, but also by migrating herds of elk and antelope. They also fail to recognize that both the instinct to graze as a herd as well as their instinct to migrate long distances has been dulled, if not removed from the way they have been run over the last 100 years. It would be possible for them to achieve their goals, but they must take the first step of recognizing that bison behavior of today is not the behavior which developed the prairies. This and more is discussed in this interview with me on the Working Cows Podcast.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Are You Throwing Money Away On Supplemental Protein and Energy Supplements?

As you can tell from the picture, the country these cows are running in is "a little tough,"  yet they they are in this condition without any protein or energy supplements. The cow on the right below is 13 years old. The one on the left is her 2 year old daughter. How are they staying in this condition, under these conditions?

   Back in December of 2018 I posted about Using The Unseen Potential by utilizing browse plants not usually recognized as a feed source, and this is a good example of that. The brush in the picture below is called "Javelina Brush." Supposedly the only thing to eat is is javelinas and deer. 

Not only has this "inedible brush" kept the cattle in good shape through the winter (without depending on supplements) the browsing by cattle has stimulated new growth in them (which isn't happening in adjacent pastures) but has also stimulated new grass (which you can see in the bottom left of the picture.) 

The interesting part is that there was no "training" to get the cattle to eat these plants. All it took was was changing they way they were handled and they added the diversity to their diet on their own. They get handled no more than once a week, and at times go a month or more without being handled. 

Rebooting herd instinct has increased the diet diversity in virtually every herd it has been done one, and resulted in lowering or eliminating protein and energy supplements. For more information on how to reboot herd instinct to use in holistic/regenerative grazing programs without adding fences, visit my website

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Battle of Conflicting Instincts

While sometimes frustrating, I peruse through a lot of articles and videos on stockmanship, not for the education as much as trying to figure out how to describe things I do different. In doing so I came across a statement by one of the better known low stress stockmanship instructors which set off the old light bulb.

"Cattle don’t perceive there is or will be a release of pressure. Or pressure is coming from multiple spots around them at the same time."

 We are so busy figuring out when to apply or release pressure that we don't recognize that cattle are continually looking for the release of pressure, and when they don't recognize it, react to us in ways we consider "wrong."  To this (and in response to "pressure is coming from multiple spots around them" ) we need to add There are times we are placing pressures on cattle without realizing it.

We seldom acknowledge the fact we are neither solely a predator or solely a prey animal. This becomes a problem when we are working cattle because (no matter how much we try not to) we focus on what reactions cattle should have from the point of a predator, and not a prey animal. As such we don't recognize behaviors such as quitting the herd or refusing to go through a gate as the animal responding to too much pressure and recognizing where the release from pressure is.

Our reaction is that we need to get ahead of them to "get their eye" and put enough pressure on them to turn or stop them. We forget that the general rule of cattle slowing down when we are going in the same direction only works if and when our position isn't in the predatory mode of pursuing prey.

When it comes down to it, humans react much the same way. We react to having too much pressure in a variety of ways. This can vary from being indecisive, to becoming agitated and angry, to freezing up like a deer in the headlights. Just like a cow, our prey instincts kick in and we try to get away from it in various ways. We may freeze like a deer in the headlights, or we may be like a bull on the fight and go on the attack...or we may be like the cow in the gate and just leave. 

This tendency to looking for a release from pressure is why stockmanship methods using indirect pressure works so well. For instance, when trying to force a cow out of the feed pen and into the alley, the cow is concentrated on the source of pressure while thinking the release is where you picked it up from. As such it doesn't recognize the gate as the point of release, and keeps fighting to get back to it's safe place. By relieving pressure towards the gate and riding away from it, you have shifted your pressure towards her perceived point of release which shifts her into looking for a new point of release, which just happens to be the gate.

Once you begin to recognize how cattle perceive the your (or your horse's) body angle in relationship to your approach, you will be able to have cattle seeking the place you want them to go as their "point of release." We are able to take this to the degree of rebooting herd instinct, not because we are forcing the issue, but because the relief of stress creates the herd as their point of release.

For more videos, information on stockmanship, regenerative grazing,  as well as schools and clinics, visit

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Reserving 2019 Dates For 5 Day IMG Schools and 2 Day Stockmanship Schools

Time to start making a schedule for schools and clinics in 2019.

The IMG schools are 5 days long, during which the class will learn the stockmanship required to reboot herd instinct while rebooting it in the cattle used. This will include the horsemanship needed to handle cattle with these methods, as well as seeing the changes in behavior made by the cattle during the process. Cattle will be worked with twice a day with discussions on infrastructure and grazing, including conducting forensic grazing observations throughout the week.

Cost $2500 plus $0.85 a mile from Van Horn Texas. Maximum class size 10.

Also offering two day stockmanship clinics which covers horsemanship and stockmanship methods used in rebooting herd instinct (which are useful no matter how, or where you run cattle.) Hosting ranch will also receive a forensic grazing study at no cost. Minimum class size depends on distance from Van Horn (shown in chart below.) Maximum class size 10.$300

For more information call