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Beefs and Beliefs

Here's a worthy stockmanship video

Bob Kinford Aerial view of cattle stockmanship
The overhead view in this stockmanship video gives it a special edge in showing handler position and livestock reaction.
Aerial view makes this video unique and offers lessons hard to capture from on-the-ground view.

One of the best ways I've found to improve my stockmanship skills is to practice them with cattle, then go back and watch great video of others doing it, looking for how they solved or avoided problems I created.

Lately I had the chance to review one of the best stockmanship videos I've ever seen, by Bob Kinford of Van Horn, Texas. Kinford is clearly an outstanding stockman who is able to explain what he does and why. I've read his blogs and watched his social media posts about how he does things for several years now, but I'm especially high on this video because it uses an aerial drone for almost all the filming. This provides a view you do not get with other stockmanship videos.

Video is the only tool that can show the actions and reactions of livestock and the stockman on the ground, in real time.

As an example of how important this is, when I was watching Kinford's video the other day I could see clearly that I sometimes get impatient when waiting on cattle to move. Bud Williams taught me that movement is very important and once you get movement, then other cattle join into it and the entire herd moves. It's all true, but sometimes I get impatient starting that movement or overly worried about brief pauses in movement. This sometimes breaks cattle off course for me or causes herd direction changes I did not intend.

As I watched Kinford working horseback in the video, in heavy brush, it became clear to me I need just a bit more patience. Kinford would stop and wait, then ease his horse up a step or two, then stop again -- longer than I would have. I have always had problems moving cattle out of brush, and watching Kinford patiently move these cattle out of the brush by slight pressure and waiting helped me.

You also get to see the reaction of the cattle much better to the placement, speed and direction of Kinford and his horse from the aerial viewpoint.

In his video, called Stockmanship 101: Rebooting herd instinct, Kinford tames down a small set of wild cattle over five days of working with them to reform their behavior into that of a single herd and he teaches them to graze in the area where he puts them each day, which allows grazing control without electric fence. I believe this could be an affordable way to improve grazing in drier, more brittle areas where electric fencing becomes more expensive on a per-acre and per-head basis, and forage is more sparse and therefore hard to judge for daily forage allotment and livestock moves.

Use the link above or search on for Kinford's video. It's a bargain at $35.

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