Lee Pitts: The Pitts grazing system
December 19, 2016
I'll probably never get the credit I truly deserve for developing a grazing system like Allan Savory did but I too figured out a long time ago how to double my carrying capacity and improve my pastures while at the same time reducing my expenditures.
I just never fixed any fence.
If I was smart I'd start giving speeches and having schools to teach ranchers my revolutionary grazing system.
One of the biggest advantages of my system is you'll start to see improvement immediately. Almost overnight my cows started leaking out of the landscape as if they were on the dodge from the tallow man. And most of them were. By feeding my cows the neighbor's grass I was able to triple the size of my cow herd. The only problem was that if they ever decided to come home all at the same time I didn't have the infrastructure to handle them and was forced to sell off a load or two.
These surplus cows became part of a statewide, clandestine trading ring. (I should have been locked up for the great trades I made.) I would sell my old cows to my neighbors for only a couple pennies less than beef, knowing all the while that the cows only had one more calf left in them at best. Then they would get six calves in five years out of every cow before recycling them for twice what they paid me. I have one friend who has still got cows I sold him ten years ago for pennies on the dollar that bring a good calf to the branding fire every year.
Through all the years of swapping cows back and forth there has only been one minor disagreement between myself and my trading partners. My good friend and neighbor, John, insisted that one particular cow that had taken up semi-permanent residence on his ranch was, in fact, my cow. This I hotly contested. The last time she left my place she was in such a hurry she didn't take her real name with her but John has since affectionately nicknamed her "The Pitts Cow." Since that time the name has been applied to every ugly, wild cow that comes along and I blame the vet we all share for spreading the malady to all the ranches in his trade area.
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Being trained in the Pitts grazing method, the bag of brands known as The Pitts Cow naturally had picked up some bad habits. Just like a long haul trucker or a livestock field man she just wouldn't stay home. This John would not tolerate. You see, John operates in a different fashion than me and my other neighbors. He actually feeds his cows when there isn't any grass, doesn't let his bulls stay with the cows all year, fixes broken fence wires and culls a cow if she doesn't calve. Can you imagine?
After several unsuccessful attempts to get me to take my cow back John just up and sold The Pitts Cow to the third member of our trading trio who is of the same school I am. He believes in minimum maintenance too. The Pitts Cow was hauled about ten miles away into the barren hills and kicked out to make it on her own.
You have probably heard about dogs being left behind on vacation and crossing continents to find their way home? About fish going back to where they were spawned? In the movie, The Incredible Journey, not only did two dogs and a cat speak incredibly good English, they were also able to navigate their way home across a mountain range. Disney should make another movie about The Pitts Cow.
John was driving down the road the other day and low and behold what did he see? The Pitts Cow was running down the road, her bag swinging to and fro between her legs, making a bee line for John's feedbunk. She had somehow traversed six ranches and half a county, braving hot wires, creeks and freeways before finding her way back to John's ranch. This was puzzling. The Pitts Cow never would stay there while John had her and here she was breaking back in.
The only thing we can figure is that she came back to the last place she'd been fed.