Grass Provides New Life for Ex-Range Conservationist

March 1992 | The Stockman Grass Farmer - "The Grass Profit Paper p. 27
by Sally Massey

Chuck Grimes, Hennessey, OK, is an ex-range conservationist who worked
on rotational grazing back in the 60's. He is still involved in forages
- in many ways. He's now a rancher, grass seed producer and processor,
and a manufacturer.

Besides having an intensive grazing operation, he manufactures and
markets the Grasslander Seeder, which he says is clog free even when
planting fluffy, trashy seed. He custom plants grass seed with the
Grasslander seeder. He sells roots for shoreline common reed (good for
conserving land on water banks or "superwet" areas) and native bluestem,
Old World bluestem, Oklahoma Wildflower, and Illinois bundleflower seed.
He processes his own grass seed and custom processes hard to clean seeds
like Red River crabgrass, Old World bluestem and Jose tall wheatgrass.
He custom harvests Old World Bluestems. He said, "Whenever seed is
available on a private 5000 acre game preserve, we cut 2000-3000 acres
of native grass and legume mix.

About every 2 to 5 years there will be a seed crop." He also harvests
and dries native plants for native dried plant arrangements, "Grim Plues
& Trappings," which are sold to arts and crafts markets. How diversified
can you get?

He owns 420 acres and leases 400 acres, all of which is in pasture. The
land is loamy said to sandy soil and is 35 miles southwest of Enid, OK.
They receive about 29" of rainfall per year.

He said, "Our native grasses include native bluestem, big bluestem,
little bluestem, indiangrass and switchgrass." His improved pasture
grasses include weeping lovegrass (sandyland alfalfa), plains bluestem,
WW Spar bluestem, caucasion bluestem, Jose tall wheatgrass.

Since he's been working with rotational grazing for so long, he says his
only big problem is deciding "where I want paddock fences; I'm
especially thankful for temporary fences." He has 23 paddocks, which
range in size from 2 to 40 acres depending on where they are, type of
grass etc. He added, "I'm still working on my system, through constant
trial and error. I get amused at so-called specialists that say 'put
your fence here, here and here!'"

Regarding his livestock operation, Chuck said, "We run about 80 Brangus
cows and Salers bulls. Our goal is to get 150 to 200 head built up. It's
hard to save heifers. I need a retiring rancher who is looking for an
honest guy to take over his herd and pay interest on the value of the herd."

Marketing his cattle is usually by selling during the fall at a local
stocker "special" auction.

He said, "The reputation of my cattle doing good has brought me top
money each year." He added, "I'm considering by-passing the auction and
going directly to my neighbors or running my calves on wheat pasture

Chuck spoke at a recent Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association meeting on the
topic, "How Grass Grows." He said "Grass management is and should be a
concern of everything who grazes livestock. Everyone should have a basic
concept of how grass grows. A grazier should specifically identify those
grazing plants on which he depends financially. Then learn when and how
much leaf area can be removed for each grazing species, how often it can
be grazed and at the same time still maintain a stable root system."

Chuck commented, "People are overlooking native legumes like roundhead
lespedeza, sleder lespedeza, American licorice, lead plant, sensitive
catclaw briar and compass plant. Meadows are being sprayed to get rid of
these 'weeds,' actually native forbs and legumes which serve as natural

In his talk he included the following: "What Factor Feeds the world?
Provides us with clean air?

Efficiently operates without people or computers? Does not pollute with
smog or noise? Uses a no-cost energy source? Provides us with cereals
and juicy steaks? Answer: The Grass Plant."