Those who know me well would agree, I was (and still am, on occasion) a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. The plan was never the problem. The problem was how disappointed I would get when things didn’t go as I had planned. For a while, I believed planning was just asking for unnecessary disappointment, so I pretty much quit it all together. However, through my growing up process, I have learned certain things are out of my control, and accepted the fact that my plans are subject to change.
Nothing reinforces that fact more than being a mom and ranch wife. The kids and I are outside nearly every day caring for the cattle. With two youngsters, keeping to a schedule can be interesting. Some mornings we don’t make it out the door right on time because someone can’t find his boot; or someone else can’t find her blanket (which we do not leave the house without). Whatever happens, we adjust and move on with the day. Flexibility is key!
The past few days, I have been helping Tom draft the summer grazing plan. This plan is one of the most important plans, if not the most important plan, we come up with each year. What gets penciled out, are the moves the cattle will make from pasture to pasture during the summer months, but this plan really sets the stage for the entire year.We use historical weather data, estimated forage qualities and herd events, such as calving season and vaccinations, to make educated decisions.
Once complete, the plan is all encompassing; it promotes rapid growth of quality forages, provides adequate nutrition for both the cattle and wildlife and gives the pastures ample time to rest before they are grazed again. The scheduled movements allow us to have the cattle in the right place at the right time for optimum nutrition, protection from weather and ease of handling.
|Summer grazing plan in action.|
A great deal of time and thought go toward formulating the best plan, but chances are good we won’t follow it exactly. Challenges will arise that require patience and flexibility; some situations can be fixed with minor adjustments to the plan, while others may require a complete rewrite and sometimes, in the face of disaster, the only thing to do is pray.
One of life’s hard lessons is that we cannot control everything. You can spend all the time in the world laying out the best possible plan and it still may not work out the way you think it should. I have learned to pray and be patient because let’s face it, plans are always subject to change.