Few things evoke the image of the American way of life more than wide, open ranches in the southwest and western parts of the country. This is evidenced by the fact that more people are moving into states like Montana, where the population is expected to expand by more than 14% between 2013 and 2043. Ted Turner may have started the trend when he bought his 100,000+ acre ranch. He spent more than $20 million for the place in 1988. If you are thinking about running your own ranch, there is a lot more to it than just buying the ranch property.
Tips for Running Successful Cattle and Mountain Ranches:
- Make sure you prepare your land before adding any animals. If you neglect to prepare your land for what you are doing with it, you will be in for some trouble. Before you buy and add a bunch of cattle to your property, make sure you have done the appropriate preparation work on the land itself. Remember, when the soil is healthy, that health will be passed on to the plants and then animals we put on top of it. If your soil is unhealthy, so to will be the plants and cows.
- Cultivate your crew as much as your cattle. The people you have on your property who help manage and work on mountain ranches are incredibly important to the success or failure of the business. Your staff are truly the heart and soul of your operation. Make sure they have the tools to do their jobs and any training they need. Numerous studies show that people are more likely to stay with a business that treats them right than with one that just focuses on what their salaries are. High turnover is expensive for any kind of business but the impact it has on farms and ranches is even more noticeable. Pay attention to your staff’s needs and input and you will be rewarded with their loyalty.
- Limit your breeding time to 30 days at the most. You want your heifers to breed early in the season. There are studies that show heifers that are born early in the season will produce offspring at around the same time they were born. The reasons for this are unclear but if you limit your breeding times so that your heifers are born early, you will be rewarded for this with yearlings that remain for longer periods of time in the heard.
- Make sure you pick cows that are calm and fertile. The best combination of attributes that you should be on the look out for are fertile and calm cows. These make a huge difference in the success of many cattle and mountain ranches. These cows are best able to just do what nature tells them to do in terms of producing the right kind of offspring and they will need very little, if any, help from you. This is exactly what you want for your cattle ranch.
- Pick bulls with calm and fettle offspring. You need to think about what kinds of daughters your bulls will produce. If you know they produce the kinds of cows you want, you will be in better shape. You want your heard to have e the right temperament so that nature can take care of most of the work in producing the right offspring. Cows have natural instincts for rearing their young and the more you can rely on that, the less work you will have for your staff to do.
Running mountain ranches takes a lot of work and dedication. It is not a lifestyle that is suited for everyone. This is one reason fewer people are going into this as their line of work. Experts are projected a decline of roughly 2% from 2012 through 2014 for ranchers, farmers and other kinds of managers in agricultural businesses. Ranching can be very rewarding for those who enjoy the work and being outdoors a lot. This is not for people who like sitting in front of a computer for hours every day.
if you do your research, or if you have experience working on a farm or ranch and enjoy everything this life brings with it, ranching might be for you.