How to Convert AUMs to Cow/Calf Pairs and Vice Versa

How many cow/calf pairs are needed to graze off 3,226 AUMs in 4.5 months?  Easy, just divide the available forage (AUMs) by the grazing season (months):

Cow/calf pairs = AUMs ÷ Grazing season

If you don’t know the grazing season, assume it’s six months.

To compute the annual forage requirement for a given number of cow/calf pairs, just reverse the math:

AUMs = Cow/calf pairs × Grazing season

Although wild horses and cow/calf pairs are said to be equivalent in terms of their forage consumption, their AUM budgets differ because of their grazing seasons.

RELATED: How to Convert AMLs to AUMs and Vice Versa.

Challis Wild Horses to Experience ‘Thriving Ecological Balance’

Section 4.2.2 in the environmental assessment for the roundup states that 15,794 AUMs per year have been allocated to thirteen livestock operators on seven allotments within the HMA.  The EA also states in section 1.1 that the AML is 185 – 253 wild horses.

The roundup, which starts next week, will bring the HMA to the low end of the AML, meaning that:

  • Wild horses will receive 2,220 AUMs per year
  • Livestock will receive seven times as much forage as the horses
  • The HMA could support an additional 1,316 horses
  • The AML represents 12% of the capacity of the land

There’s not enough forage to sustain the pre-gather population of 429 wild horses (5,148 AUMs per year), but there’s three times that amount for domestic livestock.

RELATED: Challis Herd to Be Thinned Next Month.

Fifteenmile Roundup Ends, No News Release

The operation no longer appears on the list of ongoing gathers.  The daily reports stopped on 10-25-19, with 607 horses gathered from the HMA.  Eleven deaths occurred and 95 animals were returned to their home range.

All but twelve horses were gathered, according to a footnote, suggesting that returned mares were to be treated with contraceptives, but that was not indicated in the reports.

RELATED: Fifteenmile Roundup Begins Mid Month.

Outside the Box

Much of the conversation recently about wild horses revolves around the ‘Path Forward’ and the $35 million down payment on the plan approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in September.

But a report posted yesterday by Horse Network offers a new approach (new if you haven’t been reading these pages): Get some of the livestock off the range.

Yep, somebody tried to distinguish between cause and effect.  Somebody asked why the problem occurs.

There are real reasons and stated reasons.  You have cut through the obfuscation and propaganda.

Public-lands ranching drives the roundups and warehousing of wild horses.

You can’t have two competing interests trying to occupy the same territory, especially when the other side wants you wiped off the map.

What do you want to see on western rangelands?  Privately owned cattle and sheep or free-roaming horses and burros?

RELATED: The ‘Path Forward’ is Wrong.


Another Questionable Survey About Wild Horses?

Animal Wellness Action, a lobbying group based in Washington, D.C., said today in a news release that nearly three in four Americans reject the removal of wild horses and burros from western rangelands as proposed in the ‘Path Forward.’

According to the announcement, 686 registered voters were polled October 25 – 27, but the inference was drawn to Americans.

Might as well look at some apples and draw conclusions about oranges.

The margin of error was not reported and techniques for avoiding bias were not given, so the results are probably not valid.

RELATED: Invalid Conclusion from Recent Sterilization Survey?

Anti-Spay Letter Sent to DOI Ahead of WHBAB Meeting

A letter signed by dozens of veterinarians, opposing BLM’s sterilization research on wild horses, was delivered to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today, according to a news release by the Animal Welfare Institute.

The letter arrived a day before the start of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting in Washington, DC, where the topic may be considered.

The research is directed at a herd in Oregon that receives just 11% of the available forage on its HMA, with the balance going to privately owned livestock.

RELATED: WHBAB Meeting Next Month.

How to Convert AMLs to AUMs and Vice Versa

An Animal Unit Month (AUM) is the amount of forage consumed by one wild horse or one cow/calf pair in one month.  It also represents the amount of forage consumed by two wild burros or five sheep in one month.

The Appropriate Management Level (AML) corresponds to the number of wild horses or burros allowed in a given area by plan.

AMLs are usually not specified for cattle and sheep.

Wild horses and burros graze twelve months per year.  To convert horse AMLs to AUMs, multiply the AMLs by twelve.

Wild Horse AUMs = AML × 12

The Challis HMA, in the news recently, has an AML of 253.  The forage allocation for horses there would be 3,036 AUMs per year.

To convert burro AMLs to AUMs, multiply the AMLs by twelve and divide by two.

Wild Burro AUMs = AML × 12 ÷ 2

At the Twin Peaks HMA, 116 wild burros are allowed by plan.  The forage allocation for those animals would be 696 AUMs per year.

If you know the AUMs and want to determine the AMLs, just reverse the math.

Wild Horse AML = AUMs ÷ 12

Wild Burro AML = AUMs ÷ 12 × 2

The AUM budget for horses at Warm Springs HMA is 2,424 AUMs per year, therefore the AML must be 202.  It has nothing to do with the carrying capacity of the land.

RELATED: What Do the AUM Numbers Tell You About an HMA?

Grazing Fee Defies FLPMA

Paragraph 9 of Section 102 in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the statute that codified ‘multiple use’ and authorized helicopter roundups of federally protected horses and burros, requires that:

FLPMA Fair Value-1

The fee for livestock grazing on western rangelands is currently $1.35 per AUM, updated annually according to a formula in the Public Rangelands Improvement Act.

Last month, however, ranchers in New Mexico bid $35 to $43 per AUM to graze eight parcels on withdrawn lands near Alamogordo.

If that is the going rate, then the U.S. is not receiving fair market value for the use of public lands in the western U.S., in defiance of FLPMA.

If the fee was increased by $40 per AUM—in line with market rates—the U.S would receive an additional $360 million per year, a nice offset to the cost of warehousing wild horses and burros, who were forced off their home range at the behest of the ranchers.

PZP Zealots Target Black Mountain Burros

The Platero Project, a venture of HSUS aimed at reducing the number of burros on Black Mountain HMA, pledged $32,500 to the Clark Mountain reward to hasten the arrest and conviction of the person(s) who reduced the size of that herd.

You can’t make this stuff up!

HSUS was one of the signatories to the ill-conceived ‘Path Forward,’ which will remove 70% of America’s wild horses and burros from western rangelands.

These people, most of them liberals, think fertility and reproduction are among the world’s greatest problems (especially in homo sapiens).  They are on the same side of the debate as the public-lands ranchers, differing only in methodology.

RELATED: The ‘Path Forward’ is Wrong.

Challis Herd to Be Thinned Next Month

BLM said today that 365 wild horses would be gathered from the Challis HMA in central Idaho, beginning on or about November 5, with 244 permanently removed.

Mares returned to the range will be treated with contraceptives, according to the news release.  The announcement did not indicate of any of the studs would be gelded.

The roundup will be carried out with helicopters and will be open to public observation.

The HMA covers 168,720 acres and has an AML of 253, for an aimed-at population density of 1.5 wild horses per thousand acres.  The target density across all HMAs is one animal per thousand acres.

Challis HMA Map-1

The HMA intersects seven grazing allotments, according to Section 3.8 of the final Environmental Assessment for the HMA Management Plan.  Table 2 in Appendix G indicates that the entire parcel is subject to domestic livestock grazing.

Captured animals will be taken to the off-range corrals in Bruneau.

Gather stats and daily reports will be posted to this page.

The ‘Path Forward’ is Wrong

The announcement this week regarding WHB adoptions in FY 2019 stated that 46,000 wild horses and burros were currently in off-range corrals and long-term pastures.

Let’s collect some numbers that appeared on these pages over the last two weeks for wild horses displaced by domestic livestock on lands set aside for the horses.

These thirteen HMAs could support an additional 22,596 wild horses, but they can’t, because of the livestock.

That is, roughly half of the wild horses in off-range holding can be accounted for by misappropriation of forage on just 13 HMAs.

How is that possible?

Refer to CFR 4710.3-2: Your government gave itself the power to decide if lands set aside for wild horses and burros will be managed principally for wild horses and burros, in defiance of the original WHB Act.  All but four of the 177 HMAs are not.

The ‘Path Forward‘ is wrong.  It’s aimed at symptoms, not causes.  You don’t have a wild horse problem on western rangelands, you have a ranching problem.

The enterprise needs to be ripped out by the roots, along with those engaged in it.