Winter Cattle Works: The Real Story

January 27, 2016


Ranchlands' founder Duke Phillips is a third generation cattle rancher who believes in economic diversification, high conservation ethics, and public education as critical to the future of ranching.

This week and the next three are the annual cattle works when we bring the cattle herd in its entirety into the corrals (the only time the entire year) to wean the steer calves that we sold last summer to deliver to the buyer in February, and pregnancy test the females.  This is when we find out how many cows are pregnant, how heavy the calves are, the markers of how we performed this year, the outcome of the work, planning and investment that we have all made for the entire year.

Its an intense time because there are so many cattle, so many things going on at one time.  One team was doing a rough sort, and another team taking this group and picking up the ones we missed.  Both teams going full blast.  At one point toward the end of the day when the rhythm was in full swing, I looked over the gate at the team in the alley – Nick, Amy sorting and Eric and Jack running the cuts down the alley with Callie, Andrea and Madi on the gates at the end of the alley,opening and closing for each class of cattle.  Everyone was focused, on their toes, moving at the right time, calling out to each other, dust, cattle flying, gates being thrown open and slammed shut.  It was amazing to me even though I’ve done it hundreds of time.  It was cool because it had been going on all day and everyone was into it.

Once again, I’m reminded of how everything revolves around people.  This kind of work brings you close together not only because of all the time we spend working together, but because of how closely we work together, depending on each other.  Not only to do the right thing, moving in unison,  having each others back.  Theres no feeling like it.  And to think this is just the first day of the next three weeks.

Photography by Matt DeLorme

1 reply to “Winter Cattle Works: The Real Story

  1. Tony Dowling

    Stunning photo at top. Great description. I can see the crew in the alleys, dust flying, quick turnbacks and moves on horseback, rapid moves in the alley to get the right animals in the right corrals, all done in cold windy weather most likely. Be safe, stay warm.

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