We catch up with Pat Guptill, rancher from Quinn, SD, Pat grazes his base herd year-round and when he has enough grass in the summer, will take on additional stockers. Pat discusses his basic operating philosophy and business model, he shares with us the number 1 thing he attends to: spoiler alert, these are livestock but not cows! Pat rotates almost daily using high stocking densities and he provides thoughts on why he wants every square inch of land covered by hooves. We discuss recovery times between his land and land that has been left bare, the use of temporary and permanent fencing as a tool. Pat is a keen observer not only of his land but his livestock and talks about “setting their plates” every day, very handy when it comes to controlling things like Canada thistle. Stockmanship is important as well, Pat talks about trust between man and animal, how he can tame new stockers on the land in a matter of days, how this helps with labor and sick livestock (which are rare in his case), and how human and animal stress can be a two-way street. Finally, we discuss some of the concrete (and to many, surprising) actions that Pat has taken to improve his soil and animal health, we include a little discussion on the many dung beetles he has on his land and how they act to recycle nutrients and help reduce fly pressure.
Pat is passionate about mentoring folks who are interested in improving their land and is a board member of the SD Grassland Coalition. Pat can be contacted through the SD Grassland Coalition website (https://sdgrass.org/).
Pat is a big proponent of grazing schools and Ranching for Profit Workshops:
Watch for an announcement from SD Grassland Coalition for the 2022 Grazing School https://sdgrass.org/
Watch for Soil Health Workshops and Conferences at: https://www.sdsoilhealthcoalition.org/
Watch also for Ranching for Profit Schools: https://ranchmanagement.com/ranching-for-profit-school-2/
In addition, we provide some video links that feature Pat:
2013 SD Leopold Award: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGsjUdScWZM
A 2014 video by SDSU visits with Pat about High Stock Density grazing (Pat doesn’t necessarily like to use the words “Mob Grazing”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWC9qkYdDNA
In 2021, Pat and wife Mary Lou, through the SD NOLO (Non-Operating Land Owner) project, discuss “Understanding the Connection: Stress Reduction Through Soil Health” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfIJp-M1K5U
Also please visit the SD NRCS Range and Pasture website for more information at: https://bit.ly/SDGrasslands