Rebuilding the Cattle Herd

Last year’s drought may have been declared officially over, but the impact it had on agricultural producers will take a while to overcome. Joe Brown has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

"The drought of 2009 is over, but I’m not sure we’re over it. We have many pastures that I need to shred the berry vines, persimmon sprouts, bamboo briars, things of that nature that last year we just didn’t shred because we were afraid the cows were going to have to eat it, so it’s going to be more work this year getting our pastures back to the shape that we want them in."

Randy Sullivan is a full time rancher in Robertson County.

"We culled some of our old cows, and we probably culled them a little deeper than we normally would. We’re optimistic. We’re trying to get back to where we were. We’re trying to get our numbers back and become the cow/calf producers that we were before all this happened last year. We’re still a little skiddish about the moisture, you know, once the moisture stops, then it’s a whole other ball game."

Cattlemen will benefit from the winter rains, but the constant cold, wet weather did present some problems.

"It was a challenge at times to get in the pastures and get to the cows. It was a challenge at times to find dry spots to drop cubes for them to eat. Seems like the cows did pretty good. They came through it pretty well, of course we had to feed a little extra."

Ranchers take care of their animals because the animals provide them with their livelihood.

"I’m probably one of the world’s worst about keeping a cow too long. I’ll keep her a year longer than I should because she’s always been a good cow and I’m hoping she’ll get one more calf, a good calf out of her. You know we’re survivors. We do the best we can. We help each other out. We just do what we have to do to keep living this life."

I’m Joe Brown, tracing the journey our food makes from the ranch to our plates, From The Ground Up.

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