Managing Grass, Small Grains, and Cattle (1992)

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Summary: “Instead of managing grass, small grains, and cattle for their own sake, I try to manage so they complement one another. That’s a challenge.” So says Gene Goven, an innovative thinker and manager who does a remarkable job of resource management with much assistance from other resource people on his 1,800- acre central North Dakota cattle and small grain ranch north of Turtle Lake in McLean county, North Dakota. The first recorded use of a portion of his rangeland was by a horse rancher many years ago. During this time of prolonged, heavy grazing, the mixed grass rangeland community had shifted to approximately 70 to 80 percent Kentucky bluegrass, blue grama and fringed sagewort. When Goven purchased the unit in 1967, he began running 60 cow-calf pairs, moving them from one rangeland pasture in late June or early July to a larger pasture until the end of the growing season, usually into early November. The only water in the large summer pasture was in Crooked Lake, which caused a livestock distribution problem; the cattle were spending 2/3 of their time along the lake and 1/3 of the time on the rest of the unit. His remedy to this problem was to install two livestock watering dugouts and use salt blocks to equalize the distribution of his herd. “What I was doing wasn’t working the way it should, but I was told it should work.”