From the Fields - Billie Roney

Billie Roney


By Billie Roney, Tehama County rancher


Pasture conditions in the valley are dire. That little rain we got a while back gave us at least the look of green. We had some hopes that we might get more precipitation to revive pastures, but it did not happen. That seed crop came up and then died off, which was sad. Now the rain has come, which is wonderful. We’ll see what that brings up as far as what was left in the ground that might sprout.

We’ve been feeding our cattle all summer. We took about two-thirds of our herd up to the mountains this year, and they did fine. But down here, it was very dry. We elected not to put too many up there and not put too much pressure on the feed, which was a good thing. The cattle came down from the mountains in extremely good shape. Everybody’s calving and doing well. The cattle down here are in very good shape, but it’s because we provided nutrition for them in the form of hay. It’s horribly expensive and probably doesn’t pencil, but we’re not into just keeping them alive. We’ve been buying good bulls and working very hard on our genetic program and hoping and praying that we’ll have a different condition out here in terms of feed.

It’s been an interesting year financially; it’s just frightening. But as far as cattle health is concerned, we’ve been very pleased with what we’re seeing. In terms of the weather, there’s a good chance that we might be seeing more precipitation next year, which would be awesome. But for a lot of us, we’ve got a lot of work to do getting our pastures healthy again because we’ve put a lot of pressure on them, especially down here in the valley, trying to keep the operation alive when we didn’t have enough feed, and that’s hard on the pastures.

Permission for use is granted. However, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation