Monday, January 04, 2021

Annus Horribilis


Annus Horribilis

Drought Tolerant Cattle

The Year of the Mask

By Stephen L. Wilmeth


            The question of the day should be why on earth is congress appropriating $6.9 million dollars of debt funding to develop smart toilets when they are already readily identifiable without capturing an image of their orifices.

If those characters insist on spending money they don’t have, it would seem to be much more environmentally appropriate to sink that kind of money into developing more drought tolerant cattle. To the uninformed, that would be an effort to extend the efficiency of grass conversion on our drought ravaged range lands. Remember, this is the crew that carry the red banner that all things natural are being elevated into Valhalla wunderland.

To develop a layered toilet of camera gimmicks to map the frontier fringes of their human anoderm, though, is space science into another dimension. What on earth are they thinking? Some techie advertiser must have gotten to somebody’s campaign manager with the intention of mapping anal scans in order to correlate various prevailing features with buying preferences.

They must need to know which direction sphincter emissions will prevail. Those left bound would be greeted with various gifts and discounts while the righties would be ostracized and frowned upon.

In a time that everything is in disarray, lives upside down, and the Dick Hays’ book of poems is even further politically unacceptable, insight into the observations of his favored character, Juan, offers the only hint of real truth.

The news … she ain’t good!

Annus Horribilis

            Fresno County’s favorite Nordic American classicist, Vic Hanson, has penned yet another literary bullseye in his latest article referencing 2020 as our Annus Horribilis or the horrible year.

            Dr. Hanson’s dry wit and delivery has become the siren voice out of the Thompson seedless vineyards and the Central Valley to the nation. This latest article maps the events of 2020 by using 1968 as a benchmark. The article could well have been entitled The Year of the Mask, but Annus Horribilis is more scientifically appropriate. In snippets, he revealed that the COVID19 debacle would have best served the nation by addressing the highest at-risk category, those Americans over 65 with comorbidity conditions.

            The destruction of 30-60% of small businesses was not warranted.

            Then, there was the boom to bust economy. From first to near last the nation’s economy cratered. From sunlight to darkness, we watched the events unfold.

            The burning of cities was merely a recapitulation of 1968. So, too, was the tolerance of ignoring private property destruction as opposed to the voracity of the condemnation toward those outraged by the allowances to let it continue.

            Lockdowns, cancellations, protests, racial hatred and bias, and polarizing rhetoric were the features. Death, destruction, and dissension were the bylines. Then, there was the growing shadow of China and the likelihood that perhaps something more than accident was the realization.

            The cumulative impact was immense. The rancor, the hatred, and the manipulation of the election spread across the land. The latter is still a lingering pall laying across the winter valley we find ourselves.

            Hanson seeks and describes a silver lining, though. He suggests that which didn’t destroy us will make us better. He also points to a patch of blue sky on the horizon in the developments in the Middle East.

            Maybe he is right. Maybe he is wrong.

Only time will reveal whether his title should have actually been plural, or … Anni Mirabiles.

The Year of the Mask

The new progressive party, the mob that shapes the continuing narrative, has a real problem out here in the hinterlands. For starters, we don’t think masks are a becoming feature of our permanent attire.

Not only do they have no idea what drought tolerant cattle can actually be, they don’t like us or at least that is the message we receive constantly. That condition, as a theme going forward, should be some kind of high alert to them.

The abstract they have created in our midst is alarming. In words and actions, they hate our skin color, they hate members of the Jewish faith, they despise members of our Christian faith, they advocate the redefining of all standards, they constantly dismiss selective abuses, and they hate the United States in its present form.

To be a party of the people, those are huge obstacles to sell in order to remain inclusive and hospitable to an entire segment of the production enclave of American citizenry. It is impossible to preach unity with that image and that constant refrain.

Drought Tolerant Cattle

So, back to drought tolerant cattle because something has to make sense in all this new and contrived world order.

Aside from consistent and reliable calving ease on western rangelands, drought tolerance is perhaps a most important feature to nearby genetic selections. If there is a standard that deserves erasing, it starts with dethroning the past accepted conversion of dry matter to weight gains of 8:1.

Range managers must realize what the consequences are of reducing feed intake 40% and getting the same rates of gain. That is what would happen by identifying genetic markers that make it possible to create cattle that could convert at 5.7:1. The outcome from both an environmental and economic perspective is huge.

Creating increasingly drought tolerant cattle is stewardship of the highest order.

In our approach to bull selection, three primary factors are being revealed. Low birthweight with calving ease is now the standard feature. The potential to capture more weight gain from calving to weaning (than from weaning to harvest) is mapped, and the march toward more drought tolerance across the herd is the emerging guidepost.

In arid grasslands where drought is not just occasional, but ongoing, the third factor may be the most important. It is achievable. If the rest of the world would just allow such free and independent creation, great things can happen. 

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Happy New Year"

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