Alexander said the "new norm" may be dryer and warmer weather and we must adapt to that "new norm." "If the worst happens, at least we have a plan," he said.
To conclude the day, Rice described the different types of grazing systems and how they worked.
Under a continuous grazing plan the livestock can go wherever they want to in the pasture, but the land is only moderately stocked. It takes minimal management practices, but it is difficult for the pasture to have enough rest time, Rice said.
A patch burn grazing system is when the pasture is divided into three sections. Each year a different section is burned, so livestock go to the burned area to graze while another section gets rest, he said. This system does increase animal performance, but does have higher per acre cost of burning, Rice said.
Early intensive grazing means one herd per pasture. The stocking rate is doubled, but cattle are removed around July 15th so the land can get late season rest, Rice said. Switchback grazing is having four pastures for three herds, he said. Pastures are rotated seasonally or annually, said Rice.
MiG or rotational grazing is giving one herd four or more paddocks to graze on; when the grass gets grazed to a certain point the livestock are moved into a different paddock, Rice said. This requires a higher degree of management, but the pasture or rangeland has very long periods of rest.
Finally, there is mob grazing, which refers to short-duration, high-intensity grazing of many cattle on a small area of pasture moved several times a day to new forage." Rice said, this system uses temporary fences, but does have potential for improving soil quality.
"Any system works well, but all can be abused," Rice emphasized, "All systems require management."
"Landscape is the most precious commodity," summarized rancher Alexander, "It's how we manage this together and have a grazing plan that will affect the outcome."
The Kansas Graziers Association Annual Conference was co-sponsored by the Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, and Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops.