Previously we noted that “cattle love their job”, grazing, and they are extremely good at it. Cows will consistently select the highest quality food available (grasses and forbs) when given a patch to graze. You and I may see a nice pasture but a cow smells quality down to the individual plant!
You are familiar with how a dog will use their nose to check things out. A friend’s car pulls into your driveway; your dog immediately circles the vehicle sniffing away. The dog is reading a book about where this vehicle has been based on the odors. When it comes to a cow selecting a nutritious bite from an acre of pasture, she reads the grass in front of her by smell. Numerous times we have seen cattle walking along, head up, at a nice pace and then slam on the breaks to graze a specific plant. Cows also use sight in grazing, but it is almost comical to hear cattle blow air through their nose (reading) finding that next best bite of grass.
Our challenge is to coordinate cattle moves that give the cow an opportunity to select a meal that benefits her today and in the future. Today’s meal is pretty straight forward; it is planning into the future that becomes the challenge. When will it rain again? How long before a freeze stops forage growth? Have previously grazed plants recovered?
The cattle enjoy a labor of love. While at times for us, managing the many variables of an ever-changing environment can become stressful. This brings us to question “is this really what God wants us doing?” For now we continue forward, in the pursuit of providing healthy food for others through the work we are going about.