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Working Ranch - March 2016

tem is economical and allows him to continue taking good care of the pasture he has – even during drought. “We had a spectacular grass year in 2011, followed by horrible drought in 2012,” tells Newman. “I brought pairs back to the valley six weeks early, weaned the calves and put the cows in a drylot until cornstalks were available. “I reduced cow numbers in 2013, but I still couldn’t take anything to grass at the usual time. The range greened up, but there really wasn’t much forage there. We kept our cows and their calves confined and delayed going to grass until July 20. Confinement gave me that flexibility and allowed me to keep my located some 35 miles distant. However, the crop residues that provide Newman’s cows with winter grazing usually play out, and spring field work must start before the herd can be taken to grass. It’s during that interim period that the cows are confined and fed from bunks. And “confinement” occurs in a 10-acre lot – larger than a typical feedyard pen. Newman might not do it this way if he had access to pasture in the valley. But such acreage is scarce and, to Newman’s way of thinking, price prohibitive. Both available and affordable, however, are feedstuffs like baled low-quality roughage, byproduct feeds and grain. Newman’s “partial” confinement sysor me, it’s a way to get from here to there,” explains Torrington, Wyoming cattleman Ross Newman, describing why his cow herd spends a portion of each year in confinement. By “here,” Newman means the irrigated corn fields near his North Platte River Valley headquarters place. “There” is his summer range 80 | WORKING RANCH | MARCH 2016 There is a time, for some beef producers, when confined feeding in large lots of over 10 acres is a great strategy to deploy. JULIA NEWMAN


Working Ranch - March 2016
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