Cattle Industry Pioneer Temple Grandin Talks Sustainability and MoreTue, 07 Sep 2021 13:35:33 CDT
Cattle sustainability is a hot topic - especially in the agricultural world. Historically, cattle have been the poster child of unsustainable agricultural practices by nay-sayers. On the other hand, the ranchers who utilize best practices, scratch their heads in response to these accusations, as they watch their land improve every year.
Temple Grandin, animal handling and welfare specialist at Colorado States University, told KC Sheperd she has been thinking and researching the subject herself.
“I have done a lot of thinking about this,” Grandin started. “You got more and more people questioning cattle - just looking at them as terrible environment wreckers.”
Grandin said evidence shows that when producers practice crop rotation, grazing cattle on cover crops, intensive grazing systems, not only does that herd’s eco-footprint shrink, but it can even improve land and air quality.
For more information on the science behind Grandin’s statements, check out this story on methane’s new categorization in the latest IPCC report or this story on carbon banks and what role cattle production plays there.
“I have seen pasture that has never been grazed and looks terrible,” Grandin said. “I have also seen pasture that has been overgrazed and I have seen pasture that has been grazed right and it has actually improved the land.”
Grandin said sustainable grazing practices vary from region to region and producers should always consult experts when developing sustainable grazing practices for their operations. Reach out to your local Oklahoma State University Extension Office here.
One basic principle of pasture health Temple shared was that the top of the grass recovers much quicker than the roots of the grass after cattle have grazed it.
Grandin’s conclusion: like everything else, in moderation raising cattle can be sustainable.
Hit the LISTEN BAR below to hear much more from Dr. Grandin where she and KC discuss cattle handling techniques - a subject Grandin has pioneered in the U.S. and around the world.
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