Farming Grass For Cattle vs. Ranching Cattle - From the Ground Up

The largest source of agricultural revenue in Texas comes from the sale of beef cattle. Texas produces about 20% of the nation's beef cattle and ranks #1 in the country in the value of cattle raised. A big portion of the state’s cattle numbers are concentrated right here in the Brazos Valley because of the amount of forage that our ranchers are able produce. Ashely Batey has more in this week’s From The Ground Up.

“There’s more cows per acre in central Texas and south Texas and east Texas than anywhere else in the country. And one reason we’re doing that now is that we’ve got to where we’ve got some improved grasses, and we’ve got to where we farm grass for our cows. We go out, we spray our weeds, we fertilize our pastures, and if it rains then we produce an abundant amount of forage for our cow herds. “

Pete Scarmardo is a local beef producer.

“In years past we used to just ranch our country, we didn’t spend the money on it, we stocked our country less, we didn’t run as many cattle per acre, and we did a little bit different job of how we managed our cow herds.”

“The product that we use to harvest the grass is not all just hay, it’s a mother cow that utilizes this grass and then turns that into the calves that we produce in this part of the country now.”

Other parts of country just take whatever grass they’re given.

“West Texas or into some of Colorado, Wyoming, and some of that big country there, people out there ranch their cows. They don’t farm the grass for their cows.”

Farming cattle involves greater risk.

“When we farm our country like we do, we’ve got to get adequate amounts of rainfall, because if you don’t, and you’re geared up for maximum production and you don’t get rain, then you can get into trouble in a hurry. If you ranch your country, then sometimes you’ve got your cow herds cut back where they’re not as big, and you can manage through drought and tough times a little easier.”

Growing grass, that’s why we’re able to produce the big numbers of cattle you see in our area. I’m Ashley Batey, looking at Brazos valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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