Cattle loss alarms ranch

January 20, 2014 01:18 pm

Above normal cattle loss that graze on public land prompted a Baker County ranch manager to send a letter to area agencies and media early last week.

George Rollins of the Pine Valley Ranch said 12 mature cows and 12 calves (not pairs) were missing from the cattle turned out in July on the East Pine Valley allotment north of Halfway. The cattle were gathered in October.

Ranch employees have ridden the rugged 75,000-acre allotment on horseback numerous times searching for the cattle, Rollins said. In addition, a helicopter was hired and flew the allotments twice. No cattle were found nor were any carcasses.

When the Pine Valley Ranch cattle recently ran the herd through a chute for pregnancy testing, the exact numbers of the missing cattle was determined. Rollins said every member of the herd is branded and ear tagged with a computer chip. When the cattle are moved through the chute, each head is scanned for the computer chip and the records are kept on a database.

“Other neighboring ranchers have been informed and asked to be looking for our cattle in the chance they wandered from our allotment to others,” Rollins said.

Rollins said there are any number of explanations for the missing cattle, including rustling and predation. 

“It’s a situation that is a deviation from the norm,” he said. “We are not accusing anyone of anything but it is a significant loss.”