Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Power of "I Can't"

"It doesn't matter if you say you can, or you say you can't, you're right."
Many years ago I read the above quote, and it stuck with me. I don't remember who the quote is attributed to, but the simple wisdom of it has stuck with me through the decades.This self fulfilling prophecy really applies when you are considering different management techniques.

In drought conditions like much of the southwest is currently under, ranchers are culling herds deep to save grass. When you mention following an intensive, rotational grazing program the first thing out of their mouth is usually "I can't." This is of course followed by a myriad or "reasons" as to why it will not work on their ranch. The "reasons" range from water systems to how rough their ranch is, or how much brush, to their kind of cattle.

This brings me to my own saying. The only difference between a really good reason, and a poor excuse, is if you are listening to,  or telling it.  The "reasons" you give after spouting off the phrase "I can't" are only the excuses you give for not trying methods which may keep you from reducing your herd in a drought. When the first reaction is "I can't" you are not thinking of the positive possibilities, but the things which will only hold you back.

Conversely,  a person who says or thinks "I can" when approached with a new method to improve their situation will find a way to get it done. Again, this is a self fulfilling prophecy. When you say "I can" you are going to learn all you can about the new method so you can implement it for your situation.

The most efficient and effective way to manage your grazing at anytime is by herding your cattle through a holistic, intensive rotational program. You may need to make some changes in your water system, but for the most part the changes are rather simple, and relatively inexpensive for the benefits received. It will allow you to utilize grass more effectively, and in many cases allow you to graze areas of your ranch that usually aren't grazed at all. When the rains do come, this method will promote faster growth of grass, especially in tsabosa flats where the grass has become gray and matted.

Training your cattle to graze as a tight knit herd is simple. It is all a matter of whether you say "I can" or "I can't." If you want to keep your cow numbers up in this combination of drought and high prices, it may benefit you to adopt the "I can" philosophy!