Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: Enjoy the grass, watch for fire |

Barbed Wire by Doug Cooper: Enjoy the grass, watch for fire

Looking out at the amber waves of grass is is very satisfying. The difference between the grass last year and this year is truly remarkable. Last year we had a dry spring followed by a massive hail storm. We started culling cows very early and shipped our calves a month early in 2013. Then we leased a farm to graze and bought a lot of hay. Even in May this spring, we were still worried about having enough grass. When June finally arrived we couldn’t find our two track roads with all the forage. Ranching is so much easier with a little extra grass.

Now here in the last part of July we are having to clean the grass seed out from under the truck every day. Most species of grass seems to be headed out. I know that the old timers would only whisper when they mentioned needle grass. All the sheep outfits preferred to hope that the wool buyers would not make an issue of needle and thread grass if it wasn’t mentioned. Yesterday I dug enough of the stuff out from between the transfer case and the exhaust pipe to seed half an acre. It comes out in large enough volume to make you think you about saving seed for reclamation work. Enough of the grass we dig out is burned to make one grateful that we haven’t set the world on fire.

Even though I am old enough to have seen several good grass years before this one, I am still planning on enjoying this good grass. We will leave more feed unused in every pasture than grew last year. My son is still in his twenties so unfortunately, he doesn’t have much to compare this year to except drought. My Dad always talked about the good years in the 1920s. This year’s combination of low livestock numbers and great forage has resulted in the best conditions I have ever witnessed. I am not ever going to complain about having grass that gets stuck under the truck. I am even happy to live with a radiator that looks like a Chia pet.

All we have to do is make through a few thunderstorms and the insanity of hunting season to have good feed for the cows this winter. We have the firetruck ready and the road grader fueled up and one eye out for smoke. Their is no better way to prepare for hunters campfires and their smoldering SUVs.


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