Here are some pictures of the work we did this last week. We rounded up our pairs (cows and their calves) from private grass and put them onto our Government Range Tenure, which we call ‘Range’.
A Range Tenure, administered by the Ministry of Forests and Range, is an area of Crown rangeland where a Range Act tenure applies. Tenure holders access a defined amount of forage through grazing (measured in Animal Unit Months). Range Tenures apply only to Crown Land. A Tenure holder applies to the Range Staff, such as the Agrologist for a Tenure. They look into your ranches commensurability, ensuring that your land base can support the cows intended for Tenure. Once you and the Range Staff have pinpointed the Tenure, then a Range Plan is put into place. This document discusses dates cows move in and out of pastures, AUM’s used, etc.
You are probably thinking that it seems like a lot of work, and wondering why you don’t just graze cows on private land? There are some answers to this question. In BC, the majority of land is owned by the Crown. So next to your private land is most likely a large tract of Crown land. Renting Crown land is much cheaper than private land, $2/AUM instead of $15-$30/AUM. The saved expense is worth the extra work of following a plan and managing it.
Our cows and calves go on to our Range from the middle of May to the middle of October. It is necessary to be handy with a horse and dog to manage these grounds effectively. Some ranges are divided up into pastures, some are not. There are guidelines to where to salt the cows.
It is important to have good ‘range cows’ that can teach the younger cows where to go and where there is good grass and water. Some cows are very smart and are priceless to have in your herd. It is almost impossible to buy a cow from the prairie provinces and put her out on BC Range. It would be a very rude awakening for her, as she is most likely a ‘pasture cow’ who is used to a small, flat pasture. She would most likely give you grief by sitting at the bottom by the fence. Good range cows start climbing, as most ranges rise in elevation. May being lower grass, September being higher elevation grass. A range cow and her calf can walk up to 15 km for her daily grass, water, and salt intake. That is why I appriciate an awesome ‘range cow’!
Hopefully you learnt something new today about ‘Range’!