The Art of the Cattle Move I: The Philosophy

October 10, 2016


Madeline is the Ranchlands staff photographer and videographer.

The core of Ranchlands’ ranching operations is rotational grazing. The majority of our time is spent preparing for, executing, and checking on the rotation of cattle through pastures in a migratory fashion. From stimulating new plant growth through grazing and returning nutrients to the soil through fecal matter, urine and carcasses, to laying down plants over bare ground to protect it from the sun, retain moisture and protect seedlings, grazing ungulates play a central role in fostering a healthy prairie ecosystem. We plan the movement of cattle to mimic the historic grazing patterns of bison, who would graze an area then move on, not coming back to a plant until it had time to rest and recuperate. This practice is in ranchers’ direct interests, as the health of the land is directly linked to the health of the cattle and therefore the health of our business. But it also stems from ranchers’ emotional connection to the land they call home and their desire to protect and foster it’s┬ávitality.

Photography by Madeline Jorden
About Madeline Jorden

Madeline is the Ranchlands staff photographer and videographer.

4 replies to “The Art of the Cattle Move I: The Philosophy

  1. Tony Dowling

    Good information very well presented with the photography and music. Should help broaden the public’s understanding and appreciation for what ranchers do, how they preserve a lifestyle and the land.

  2. Sandy Wood

    Confirmation of the need for natural empty spaces. You are so fortunate to live in such a great spot on the earth. Thank you so very much for sharing these moments in your life to enhance the viewers life.

  3. Liz Marquez

    Wonderful storytelling and videography! Thanks for giving this Arizonan an understanding of sustainable ranching.


    Herding cattle is both an art and a science because it requires a decent amount of knowledge of bovine psychology and behaviour, knowledge of yourself and how you can handle yourself in situations where cattle can test you and your patience, the typical “flight zone” or invisible comfort bubble that determines when and how a cow will react to your movements, and finally what cows like and don’t like to do in response to how you move with them.

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