It's not the easiest money but buying cull cows in November, putting 1.5 lbs./day gain on them for 95 days, then marketing them in February has averaged a $64/head profit in 23 of the last 23 years. On page 12, Wes Ishmael provides a checklist for deciding if upgrading cull cows are for you in “Cull cows boost opportunity.”

How does a grazier balance the lush, heavy growth of spring with the needs of cattle to make the most of pasture's yearlong potential? On page 14, grazing guru Jim Gerrish talks about “Spring pasture control” and how to hit the delicate balance in spring-grazing management.

Well known are the benefits of controlled burning in reviving grassland productivity. New research indicates fire is also a good prescription for controlling grasshoppers on rangelands. Kindra Gordon talks about the whys and how-tos of that management tactic in “Bye-Bye, Hoppers,” on page 40.

Wade Berlier manages 1,000 head of cattle on 90-100 paddocks in southwest Kansas, which means he needs multiple, low-energy, high-capacity water points. Alan Newport provides the details on Berlier's homemade stock water system in “A Dream Water System,” on page 42.

Heifer-development systems should be based on economics rather than just maximum pregnancy rates, says Trey Patterson. On page 50, Clint Peck details in “Heifers At Any Cost?” how the Padlock Ranch's low-gain system significantly reduces costs but retains performance.

That loud, clanging noises and yelling humans in some handling facilities are stressors to cattle is a respected principle. New research in Canada by Jon Watts implies cattle might find the human voice upsetting — at any volume. Watts details his results in “Silence Is Golden” on page 74.