Emerson made PVC (polyvinyl
chloride synthetic plastic) pipe
back-rubbing oilers on a steel frame
for his cattle to rub on and pick up
the essential oil insect repellent.
“From what I observe, the cattle don’t
go by the oilers too much,” Emerson
says of his trial. “I don’t think they’ve
fi gured it out. When I run cattle
through the chute for something,
I pour a ladle of the repellent onto
their backs. I also rub it on horses
with an old sock that’s soaked in the
essential oil mixture. It repels bugs for
quite some time.”
LEAVE US, PESTS
It can be diffi cult to test the effi -
cacy of insect repellent and insecticides,
either all natural or synthetic.
Emerson’s insecticide control is rooted
in his interest in alternative agriculture
practices. He mixes his own essential
oil spray from cedarwood oil that he
distills from clippings harvested from
his ranch’s windbreaks of cedar trees.
“It’s not a scientifi cally-proven
thing,” Emerson says of essential oil
insect repellent, “but I fi nd it works
on livestock just as well as any storebought
An experiment still in process for
Emerson is how livestock wounds
and infections respond to virgin coconut
oil treatment. The U.S. National
Institute of Health published study
results that show how coconut oil
healed incisions on rats and rabbits.
When applied to soft tissue wounds,
coconut oil accelerates healing by
improving antioxidant status and
increasing collagen protein that provides
skin structure and clots blood.
Down on the Emerson Ranch,
Emerson fi rst applied coconut oil to
The Emerson Ranch hosts a variety of
birds in its grasslands and riparian areas;
these are yellow-headed blackbirds.
MARCH 2019 I WORKING RANCH I 57