The Scoop View All →

Ridiculously Good

Screenshot 2015-02-23 15.56.13

By   7 days ago

How do you describe what you do? Are you a farmer, a rancher? Do you raise chickens, pigs, ducks, cattle? Are you a dairy farmer whose cows made the milk that went into yogurt recently pronounced “ridiculously good” by a very young reader of On Pasture? [If you are, thank you. The yogurt was also […]

Read More →

Preppers Have Nothing On Us!

MjAxMi03ODY2NTcxMTI2YTFhZmI2_50d5d42bb640b

By   2 weeks ago

National Geographic says that “Doomsday Preppers” is one of their most popular shows.  It profiles “preppers” who believe that civilization will collapse sometime in the foreseeable future so they’re developing skills and creating a homestead that will ensure their survival. We’re not “Preppers” in that vein, but we do like to be prepared.  What we like […]

Read More →

In Case of Zombie Apocalypse, Save Me First! I’m a Farmer!

TshirtBack

By   3 weeks ago

This week our Funny comes to us from Forrest Pritchard who points out that being a farmer in a crisis, particularly during a Zombie Apocalypse, is a powerful thing, and might be a good way of encouraging folks to consider farming as a good career choice.  Forrest and I are definitely on the same wavelength here! […]

Read More →

Snow Day!

Covered with poor man's fertilizer...

By   4 weeks ago

It’s a snow day for a lot of people in North America today. Flights are cancelled, plans are being rearranged, and of course lots of folks are digging out. Snow is white and fluffy and cold. It’s got to be moved out of the way when it’s on the road and the driveway and in […]

Read More →

Excrement: Part of the Circle of Life

PowerBarJoke

By   1 month ago

I am old enough to remember a world before “Power Bars.” When they were first introduced, my co-workers at the Bureau of Land Management picked them up pretty quickly, using them as snacks that were easy to pack for the dignitaries we took on informational tours of the public lands we managed.  My good friend […]

Read More →

Turns Out, There’s Warmth in the Winter

Troy and Rachel at the VGFA Winter Conference

By   1 month ago

Winter Grazing Conferences are a great way to reconnect with friends and add to your grazing toolbox.

Read More →

Awards for the Good Work You Do

LCA_logo_RGB

By   2 months ago

Did you know that more than 3/4 of the land in the U.S. is in private ownership? And the things landowners do on that land affects us all, including our air, water, soils, wildlife and the food we eat. So every year, the Sand County Foundation celebrates landowners who have made life better for us […]

Read More →

Share, Care, Love, No Fighting, No Whining, Laugh!

images-3

By   2 months ago

Welcome to the first issue of 2015! We’re happy to have you with us!

Read More →

    Grazing Management View All →

    Winter Check-up Time for Your Cows and Grass

    IMG_0357-300x288

    By   7 days ago

    Editors Note: In some parts of the U.S. snow totals are well above normal and graziers are feeding their stock. Meanwhile, other parts of the country are having an open winter, and grass is still growing and cows are still grazing. So here’s an update from Jim for that part of the country. And even if you’re feeding […]

    Read More →

    In the Footsteps of a Winter Grazier

    Snow collection in the weeds and trees

    By   2 weeks ago

    Taking a little extra time in pasture when we’re moving livestock can tell us a lot about natural processes and even give us a some tips about how water retention and soil health are being affected by our management.

    Read More →

    The New Grazing Charts Are Here!

    Troy in Pasture

    By   3 weeks ago

    Yes! It’s our favorite time of year when Troy shares the new, blank grazing charts so that we can all get started planning for the green up. And this time, he’s sharing a little about why he does what he does as well.

    Read More →

    Fencing for Goats

    Goat Escapes from Fence

    By   3 weeks ago

    Yes, this title is a joke since keeping a goat in a fence can be almost impossible. Just the same, here’s a primer on fencing goats, and some pointers for keeping a goat inside one.

    Read More →

    Definitions of Holistic Management and Low-Stress Livestock Handling

    Ben Bartlett practices low-stress animal handling with some reindeer at LARS in Fairbanks. He's using a water bottle on a stick to appear as large as the reindeer and with their antlers.

    By   4 weeks ago

    Ben Bartlett is a retired Michigan State University extension agent.  He and his wife, Denise, raise sheep and stocker cattle on their 900 acre farm on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  In this video you see him on one of his visits to Alaska where he shares great definitions of Holistic Management and Low-stress Livestock Handling and why they are […]

    Read More →

    Cattle Can Improve Sagebrush Habitat With a Little Training

    Cattle grazing in grass and sagebrush pasture.

    By   1 month ago

    Many areas in the Western United States are dominated by sagebrush. The increase in sagebrush density over the past century is generally attributed to: 1) reduced numbers of mixed feeders and browsers such as deer, antelope, goats and sheep, 2) increased numbers of cattle and elk, 3) repeatedly grazing the same grasses and forbs, particularly […]

    Read More →

    Winter Stockpile Grazing’s Final Chapter (Or Is It?)

    CLick to zoom!

    By   1 month ago

    Troy has finished with his stockpile grazing for this season. Here he shares how many days he made it, and talks about lessons learned and the questions he’s asking to help him prepare for next year.

    Read More →

    Winter Stockpile Grazing Part 5 – The Weather Trumps Planning

    Staging Hay Bales

    By   2 months ago

    Editors Note: It takes a brave person to share his successes, challenges and stresses online with all of us. That’s what Troy has been doing this fall and winter as he writes about custom grazing dairy heifers on his stockpiled pastures. We’re grateful for Troy sharing his progress with all of us so that when we want to try […]

    Read More →

      Pasture Health View All →

      What Forages Are You Going to Add This Year? Picking Jeff’s brain!

      OpenForNewIdeas

      By   7 days ago

      Jeff Rasawher at Center Seeds has a lot of experience with graze-worthy cover crops. Here are some suggestions for folks in the some of our cooler climates, both wet and dry.

      Read More →

      Cow Pies and Apple Pies

      Bombus ternarius on phacelia cover crop at The Farm Between. Photo by Nancy Hayden

      By   2 weeks ago

      Our insect pollinators are in peril, and we can all play a part in helping them out. As Nancy’s husband, John, says, “No pollinators, no apples, no pie.” We’re betting you love apple pie, and as graziers you’re in a perfect place to promote healthy pollinator populations. Here’s how.

      Read More →

      True Facts About the Dung Beetle

      Dung beetle

      By   3 weeks ago

      Dung beetles are AMAZING and here are two videos that give you really good information and perspectives on how they work and all the things they can do for you. Consider it your February celebration of the International Year of Soils.

      Read More →

      Planning Crop Rotations for Dairy, Livestock and Cash Crop Farms

      Photo by Kitty O'Neil,

      By   4 weeks ago

      Got Winter? Take advantage of these “quiet” months to design your cropping plans. That way you can avoid the domino effect of mistimed applications or harvests, because you’ll know just what to do when as the weather starts to warm up. It may seem complicated, but Kitty helps you start the journey with one step at a time.

      Read More →

      The Scoop on Poop – Recycling Nutrients Through Animal Manures

      ManureWithUndigestibleFiber

      By   1 month ago

      As graziers, we all focus on good manure distribution as a way of keeping nutrients in our soils so we have better forage for our animals. We thought that knowing what the nutrient composition of animal manures might help us better understand what we’re accomplishing with our good manure management practices.

      Read More →

      Should We Test Soils For Molybdenum, Cobalt, and Selenium?

      Unknown

      By   1 month ago

      From time to time I get questions from farmers asking how they can have their soil samples tested for molybdenum, cobalt, or selenium. Each of these elements, along with many others that aren’t tested routinely in soils, is important. In some cases, these nutrients are required by the plants, while in others they may be […]

      Read More →

      What You Need to Know to Get the Best Regrowth After Grazing

      Screenshot 2014-11-24 13.58.47

      By   2 months ago

      As you read through this, you might think “DANG! This is really complex!” And you’re right it is! But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure it out. Think of it as one of those strategy games where you’re trying to maximize your points in the face of lots of variables. If you’re not good at those kinds of games, we bet you know someone who is. Just see it for the game it is, and go out and WIN!

      Read More →

      Soil Carbon Cowboys

      CowsBehindElectricWire

      By   2 months ago

      Would you like a short visit to summer in the middle of winter? Would you like to meet soil ranchers Allen Williams, Gabe Brown and Neil Dennis? You can with this video.  Great for your next lunch break, here’s 12 minutes in summer pastures, filmed so vibrantly you’ll see grasshoppers jumping in slow motion and almost feel the […]

      Read More →

        Livestock View All →

        Body Condition Scoring Your Beef Cow Herd

        image_gallery-2

        By   7 days ago

        A cow’s body condition is a good indicator of how well her calves will do and whether or not she’ll breed back. Now is a good time to check in on your cows so you can adjust their feed so they can do their best for you. AND if you’re a technology kind of person, there’s even an App for that!

        Read More →

        Are You Creating Resistant Parasites?

        80-20 Rule on Shedders

        By   2 weeks ago

        Along with super weeds that are resistant to herbicides, bacteria that no longer succumb to antibiotics, there are parasites that are no longer bothered by worming medication. The problem first began appearing in New Zealand, South Africa and South America, and is now emerging in the United States.  Who’s to blame?  We are. But just like the […]

        Read More →

        Fencing for Goats

        Goat Escapes from Fence

        By   3 weeks ago

        Yes, this title is a joke since keeping a goat in a fence can be almost impossible. Just the same, here’s a primer on fencing goats, and some pointers for keeping a goat inside one.

        Read More →

        Training Sheep For Vineyard Management

        Averted sheep grazing in vineyard. Photo courtesy of Colby Eiermann.

        By   4 weeks ago

        This Western SARE funded project gives you the information you need to teach animals NOT to eat something. While this project focuses on sheep, with adjustments, it can be used with other livestock as well. Use this as an example to think creatively about how you can use livestock to meet vegetation management goals.

        Read More →

        The Cheapest Way to Produce the Best Egg

        Chicken Feed Cost Effectiveness

        By   1 month ago

        Here’s what the Arbuckles found out when they compared how different supplemental feeds affected the cost and nutrient density of their free range eggs.

        Read More →

        Livestock Mortality Composting Manual

        CompostingManual-cover_medium

        By   1 month ago

        Composting mortalities saves money, reduces environmental risks, and leaves you with a useful end-product. Here’s what you need to get started.

        Read More →

        Baby It’s Cold Outside! Watch Out For Livestock

        Tough winter day in Western Iowa

        By   2 months ago

        Livestock animals can bear cold weather. But even if we want to extend the grazing season, keeping our animals outside as much as possible, there are some kinds of cold weather that we must pay very careful attention to.  When it comes to protecting our animals’ health and ensuring their productivity it is important to know a few […]

        Read More →

        The Cow is Always Right

        Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 1.53.24 PM

        By   2 months ago

        Did you know that cows walk 2 mph compared to a human’s 3 to 4 mph? That’s just one of the ways things begin to go wrong when we’re trying to move them in pasture or in dairy barns. Here are ways that Dr. Don Höglund suggests we can work better together.

        Read More →

          Money Matters View All →

          Pasture Rental Rates: Conditions That Affect Prices

          A perfect pasture may be in the eye of the beholder, or in the education of the livestock grazing it. These educated cows are happily putting on weight in a very weedy pasture because Kathy taught them how to eat weeds. You can learn about teaching your livestock to eat weeds by clicking here.

          By   7 days ago

          Here’s the final article in our series on how to figure Pasture Rental Rates.  If you’ve missed the first three, here they are: How Much Should You Pay to Lease Pasture? Pasture Rental Rates: Doing the Math Part 1 Pasture Rental and Use Rate: Animal Units and Profit Sharing All pasture is not created equal. Some […]

          Read More →

          Pasture Rental and Use Rates: Animal Units and Profit Sharing

          CowCalfPair

          By   2 weeks ago

          Here’s more math for figuring out how to feed our livestock while making a good living on leased pasture. Even if math isn’t your strong suit, we take it one step at a time so that it’s as easy as it can be.

          Read More →

          Pasture Rental Rates: Doing the Math Part 1

          cartoon_then-a-miracle-occurs1

          By   3 weeks ago

          Math is hard but important. So we’re going to try to work through this without hoping for a miracle to occur.

          Read More →

          How Much Should You Pay to Lease Pasture?

          past_rent_map-1

          By   4 weeks ago

          The most difficult part of pasture leasing may be figuring out a rate that works for both parties. We can’t make it a breeze, but with this series of articles, we’ll give you some tools so you’ll have an idea where to start.

          Read More →

          A Full Bladder May Help You Save Money

          Really?! A picture showing water to a person who wants to visit the restroom? What torture!

          By   1 month ago

          This revelation comes to us from Mirjam A. Tuk, Debra Trampe and Luk Warlop, faculty in the Department of Marketing and Organization Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. They noticed the difficulty we all have when it comes to choosing between an immediate reward, like going out to dinner, and a longer term reward, like not going […]

          Read More →

          Selling Cattle With Video and Satellite

          Here's an example of a group of calves ready for auction.

          By   1 month ago

          If you’re considering video auctions to sell your calves, here are some tips and things to think about.

          Read More →

          Support Local Farms? Then Never Do What This Guy Did

          egg-cartons

          By   2 months ago

          Forrest shares a Yelp review he found online along with suggestions about how local farm supporters might think before they type.

          Read More →

          Great Grazing Hacks

          nifty_ideas_for_grazers_2

          By   2 months ago

          Solutions for moving your mineral tubs (while spreading manure), and creating a fence for your water gap, as well as a stand for your solar charger.

          Read More →

            Consider This View All →

            Dreaming About the Smell of Rain

            rain-04

            By   7 days ago

            Petrichor is the word for the smell of rain. It happens because, basically, the earth is “fizzing.”

            Read More →

            Why We Invented Travel Cups

            scarlett_burned_travel_mug_1

            By   2 weeks ago

            Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? What about walking while holding a cup of coffee? Spill any? H. C. Mayer and R. Krechetnikov of UC-Santa Barbara’s Department of Mechanical Engineering figured out why.  They analyzed the way we walk, the fluid dynamics in the mug, and what happens when we focus on […]

            Read More →

            Where Are We Headed?

            Winter feedlot in Lewis and Clark County, Montana, ca March 1942 by John Vachon via Modern Farmer.

            By   3 weeks ago

            Victor ponders the changes in the beef industry since the 1930s and ’40s and considers where we might be going next. Can increasing our productivity on pasture also give us more time to relax?

            Read More →

            How Many Scientists Does It Take To Make a Report on Climate Change?

            RachelPike

            By   4 weeks ago

            When we read a headline that says, “Scientists Say…” what does that really mean? Well, in the case of the report on the state of the atmospheric system put out by the International Panel on Climate Change, it means that thousands of scientists in lots of countries are involved. Here, in her 4 minute TED […]

            Read More →

            Why Whale Poo is Important to You

            Whale Poo

            By   1 month ago

            While we’re busy making using our livestock to fertilize our pasture, we never stopped to think about how manure is distributed in the oceans, and how important that might be to our own health. Here’s a video that explains it.

            Read More →

            Pelster Angus Ranch: Conservation in the Sand Hills of Nebraska

            Pelster Angus Ranch

            By   1 month ago

            The Sand County Foundation gave the Leopold Conservation Award to the Pelsters in recognition of how their efforts at rotational grazing have improved the land and water. We’re sharing this video for the inspiration and the fun of visiting a beautiful ranch.

            Read More →

            A Visit to Rock Hills Ranch

            Lyle Perman Rock Hills Ranch

            By   2 months ago

            Aldo Leopold said, “The landscape of any farm is an owner’s portrait of himself.” In this video, you’ll see a family learning and managing together to leave a portrait that they hope will serve as an example to others.

            Read More →

            Celebrate Soils From Dung Beetles to Blueberry Pancakes: Now With Stickers!

            FAO-IYS-logo-300x114

            By   2 months ago

            That’s just a fancy way of saying, “Let’s tell everyone how important soils are.” The Soil Science Society of America is handing out free stickers, and we’re adding our bumper stickers as the first of many ways to celebrate the International Year of Soil. Together we can build a world map with pictures of folks loving their soils.

            Read More →

              The Funnies View All →

              The Freshest Milk Possible

              Fresh Milk

              By   7 days ago

              Imagine what the dairy aisle might look like if grocery stores started providing milk in this kind of container!

              Read More →

              The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

              Staffordshire terrier and cat

              By   2 weeks ago

              Their diaries are a good look at how differently they see the world. (Click to see a larger, more readable size.)

              Read More →

              Lumbersexuals, Tattoos & Zombies

              Yeah, awesome at spelling!

              By   3 weeks ago

              Sustainable farming as a career move? Let’s dive right in, starting with a battle royale: 1) Farmers versus Zombies During a zombie apocalypse, two life-skills are immediately paramount: the ability to wield heavy, blunt objects, and the means to procure food. Suffice to say, when New York becomes a mosh pit of living dead, “Proficient […]

              Read More →

              When It Hits This Temperature You Should Evacuate

              TV WeatherGuy

              By   4 weeks ago

              You think you have it bad?  Kathy lives just a couple hours south of where these temperatures were being reported by the TV Weatherman in Phoenix. She did survive! Here’s the link for our tablet readers.

              Read More →

              The Incredible Case of the Shrinking Toilet Paper

              Go ahead! Click to read!

              By   1 month ago

              We’re on a roll.  Given that this week is all about poo, we need to wrap it all up with toilet paper. Trouble is, it keeps getting smaller. Check out this “expoosé” from the Washington Post.

              Read More →

              Police Dance to the Radio in Their Cars Too

              Dover Police Officer Seat Dancing

              By   1 month ago

              The Dover, Delaware Police Department decided to let us know that their officers are just like us. They have a Facebook page and last week posted this: “While reviewing dash cam footage, we come across some interesting sights to say the least. We decided we would share some with you in a new web series […]

              Read More →

              Why We Don’t Diaper Free Range Poultry

              Chickens wearing diapers

              By   2 months ago

              Reason 1) Their manure fertilizes the pasture. Reason 2) This video: For our tablet readers, the link. But seriously, if you’ve got a kid that just insists on bringing a chicken inside, maybe you need a chicken diaper. Here’s the website to check out.

              Read More →

              Why Don’t We Drink Pig Milk?

              120720_MEDEX_PigMilk.gif.CROP.original-original

              By   2 months ago

              And why don’t we eat pork milk cheese, yogurt or butter?  Here’s the question AND the answer.   Want to read more fun letters from Guy Petzall? Here you go!

              Read More →