Southern Plains Bison Pointers May 2015

A historic amount of rain is blessing the southern plains to the point, in some locations, of causing reason for concern in ranch and bison health management. This year will also be historic, because of the rain, as a liver-fluke year. Take a ‘Google’ at the liver fluke life-cycle, and then play it safe by assuming that breaking their cycle, effectively, is shrewd herd- health management every year, but especially this year!

We have been getting so much water where I am, that I have actually observed fish in my pasture! They are Gambusia, and because they are involuntarily migrating to small run-off catches and working their little butts off eating mosquito larvae by intent and design of my system is good, but I am still observing; freaking-fish-in-my-pasture!! I have also observed snails on my grass, and yes, tons and tons of green feed. In nature, every paradigm contains paradox, and when balance is disrupted by an excess of anything, there is payment due. In the case of too much rain, as it pertains to herd-health management, paying attention is what is both due and diligent. Watching the condition of your animals will also be called for if the rain does not get back to normally balanced amounts. Lush green forage is good, but if it is excessively made up of water, can make it impossible for our grazers to consume enough in 24 hours to be healthy. We are only [approaching] cause for concern on the latter, but it’s good to know that if the rain keeps up, you’d better be keeping your eye on them and their body score.

This 2015 season of major rain-event will also be cause for attention paid to natural-disaster plans written or conceived, prior to natural disaster and [flooding] events. I recently experienced flash-flooding and frustration that did not include animal losses, because they were in pastures that allowed the performance of natural survival behaviors. I’ve never seen them spend so much time on high ground, and lately, if they even hear a distant rumble, that’s where they are. It’s amazing to me, but I suspect, a common-sense to them…

On a more positive note; if you have wanted to establish warm season perennials and/or re-seeding annuals in your bison habitat, this year is a great year to have luck doing it. Water makes everything work, even when ‘everything’ includes antagonists to our models of production. Nature doesn’t take sides, or prisoners. For those of you getting good rain, without daily flooding, enjoy the grass, tank levels and fat happy bison.