HOW DID WE GET IT SO WRONG by Chip Hines
HOW DID WE GET IT SO WRONG THE REALITY OF IGNORING NATURE Low profit. High inputs. Deficient soil life. Diminished genetics. Low production grasslands. The cattle industry in this country is beginning to divide into two factions between big cattle with high inputs and smaller cattle with minimal inputs. The high input folks are intent on building and maintaining artificial environments for their cattle. This is the classic unsustainable system that has prevailed for the last 40 years. Before going any further I want to give my definitions of unsustainable and sustainable. There are as many definitions as people, so I want to make my position clear from the start. I define unsustainable as any method or mode that requires multiple purchased inputs to run an operation. If any political or marketing problem arises to cripple one or more of these inputs, the whole operation is in financial jeopardy. Of course, sustainable is the exact opposite. This method relies on management and the natural world which requires little in the way of purchased inputs. This reliance will allow an operation to survive in uncertain times, not excluding drought, high fuel prices and other calamities. Low input producers are basing operations on the proven natural mode that prevailed for thousands of years without our help. With the low inputs required this system is low risk and will survive when high inputs drag down artificial We possibly are looking at several years of good cattle prices which will draw attention from building low input, improved gazing operations. The desire will still be there, but put aside. This is when grazing management needs to be studied and implemented to be ready for the next downturn. Not after it has already happened. The question is not if, but when. We are in a very contentious world-wide situation and conditions could flip flop overnight. Political decisions have wrecked markets many times with no warning or justification. In times like this it is important to keep your livestock inputs at the lowest point possible. Breeding and managing cattle for the absolute lowest needs will put you well in front of your neighbors that are cocooned in their artificial mode.