Southern Plains Bison Pointers Dec 2017

Funky Fall = Management Curve Ball

The southern plains can be lush and green this time of year for those that get busy in the fall with planting winter feed and providing a normally very happy November for their herds. I always say that the buffalo in the Dakotas surely must pace the fence this time of year and ask, ‘how are we supposed to get to Texas?’ Not this year! We missed all the rain with timing to yield winter grazing, and when it finally came – too late – the daylight hours were wrong for causing germination.  So we feed this winter, and it’s a long time till late March or April.

The other ‘curve-ball’ this year, is the sustained warmer and ‘damp’ trend that favors parasite action. Parasites normally like warm and ‘wet’ much better, but they will be hard at it in ‘damp’ which is about the extent of our fall moisture. Combined with short pastures and the bison hustling forbes, cool season natives and comparatively failed, or short winter forage-crops close to the ground, the likely hood is that they will pick up large numbers of parasite larvae. Keeping up with nutrition, worming and ‘how they look’ will be what it’s all about. Be thinking about protein, energy, parasites and don’t expect too many late calves from fall breeding this year.

It won’t seem long when this all changes back to green plants and prairie bloom with brown, bay and sable in a mix made for the beholder to admire and hold harmless the ‘Nature’ of it all.