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The Scoop View All →

$100,000 for On Pasture!

707645.0.money3

By   6 hours ago

As you know, On Pasture is funded by readers, advertisers and underwriters and we’re still growing a base that will allow us to cover some salaries and move beyond just covering daily costs. So I was pretty excited when I got an email with the subject line: “Your business is approved for $100,000.” Here’s what the email […]

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How to Age Gracefully

Indulge Your Sweet ToothLarge

By   1 week ago

This is not so much about living with the wrinkles, the changing metabolism, and the creaky joints as it is about great advice that our older selves would have loved to give our younger selves. While it’s not farming or ranching specific, we think it’s got a lot of great advice for making life easier. […]

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Birdsfoot Trefoil Bouquet

Screenshot 2015-08-05 12.23.44

By   2 weeks ago

Parenting is a lot of things. You could fill in just about any adjective to describe it, and it would be accurate: Hilarious, aggravating, fulfilling, exhausting, exhilarating, poop-y, sweet. The sweet moments are the ones that stick with you. Today, one arrived in a bouquet of birdsfoot trefoil. It came about because the kids and I walk […]

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My Childhood Farm

Farm Toys

By   3 weeks ago

I found my farm roots in the bottom of a cardboard box at my Mom and Dad’s estate sale. There were the plastic horses, cows, sheep and pigs, along with the plastic fox who sometimes chased them and other times was a tame pet. They were part of the farm my little brother and I had, populated by the […]

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Pastured Pigs in the ‘Burbs

Pastured pigs in the suburbs have a pretty sweet set up.

By   4 weeks ago

My parents live in the suburbs outside of Washington D.C. Their home is in a small development, with houses lining three streets, arranged in an “H”. Each morning, my mother meets up with one or two or three friends to walk the “H”, and catch up on each other’s lives. When I visit, I walk […]

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Catching Up for Summer

SummerRerunsTV

By   1 month ago

Reruns are Kathy’s guilty pleasure. She likes to catch up with shows she didn’t have time for, or to see a show that she really liked all over again. Watching M*A*S*H reruns with her French roommate in grad school was a bonding experience. Those are the reasons for this week’s articles: catching up, enjoying great stuff […]

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Girls Will Be Boys Will Be Girls

Ponies found outside of girls' rooms will be sent to a new home

By   1 month ago

Kathy wanted to be a boy when she was growing up. She wanted to drive in the soapbox derby and play Little League, but she couldn’t, because she wasn’t a boy. Now, though, she realizes that she has all the more options open to her. If she wants to wear a dress, she can; if […]

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How Can You Eat That?! It’s So Cute!

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By   2 months ago

My cat and I had an argument about which animals should be eaten and which ones shouldn’t. She won.

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Mob Grazing With Pat Guptill

    Guptils Cow

    By   6 hours ago

    In this video, Pat Guptill of Quinn, South Dakota shares his experience with his change from a rotational grazing plan to mob grazing saying, “What we’ve done here, it’s just baffling to me, the number of cattle we can graze.”  After doing things the same old way for years, Pat said he was never happy […]

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    Grazing Without Fences: the Economics of Supplement Blocks to Target Grazing

    Cows lick molasses block

    By   6 hours ago

    Are your livestock under-using some parts of your pasture? Would you like an alternative to fencing to get them to graze in those places? Well, here’s a potential solution for moving your livestock across large landscapes and help them gain more weight too. Xcel-based calculators are included to help you estimate costs of using this tool.

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    Creating Quality Silvopastures in Open Pasture Areas Part 2

    In this experiment, young trees inside “growing tubes” are being shielded from curious and itchy cattle with additional protection: unelectrified polytwine; a wire cage; and a barbwire wrap.  Psychological barriers like polytwine require animals to be well fence-trained.  Physical barriers like the cage and barbwire should be well-anchored, and be sufficiently painful if contacted by the animal.  In the case of the wire cage, some of the vertical wires were bent outward, forming barbs that prevent the cattle from using it as a rubbing post.  The cost of this double protection represents the majority of the establishment cost, but is necessary if the young, vulnerable trees are to survive hungry livestock, deer, rodents and rabbits.

    By   1 week ago

    Last week we started the process of turning open pastures into quality silvopastures by asking the questions we should all ask before we start a new project: Will it be profitable? Can I afford it? Do I have the time to do it right? If you answered yes to the above considerations and are ready […]

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    Creating Quality Silvopastures in Open Pasture Areas Part 1

    Planting good quality seedlings is usually the safest way to get trees growing in pasture environments, but other methods may work in given situations.  This pasture in central Argentina was converted to silvopasture through a combination of direct seeding (the oaks, walnuts and pecans in the background), and unrooted cuttings (the hybrid poplar and willows in the foreground).  Livestock was excluded until the trees were sufficiently developed to resist browsing and rubbing damage.  Note these black cattle enjoying the cooler conditions of the lightly shaded silvopasture area.

    By   2 weeks ago

    Silvopasturing usually starts from the forest and moves to pasture. But what if you have pasture and you want to add trees? Brett Chedzoy gets you started with this 2 part series.

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    Less is Seldom More

    11504b

    By   3 weeks ago

    I’ve lived in states where people are frugal – a polite word for stingy, greedy, lazy or money grubbing. These folks often thought grazing forage into the ground was economical. However, letting livestock graze forage into the soil: Reduces forage quality consumed, as livestock are forced to eat stems and dead leaves, Exposes small ruminants […]

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    Overgrazing for Pasture Renovation

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    By   4 weeks ago

    Overgrazing and high pasture productivity don’t often go hand in hand– unless you’re getting ready to interseed. If done correctly, a simple no-till pasture renovation can be more economical than tillage or conventional establishment. Before no-till seeding into your pasture, it’s best to prepare ahead of time by getting the competition from the existing stand […]

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    Making Destocking Decisions During Dry Spells and Drought

    Cattle in Boulder County, Colorado graze a dry pasture.

    By   1 month ago

    Imagine it’s the end of June and it hasn’t rained in awhile.  Your region is well below the average annual rainfall and it’s hard to say when the skies might open and give your pasture a little relief.  Your livestock are grazing along, not a worry in the world, because it’s your job to figure […]

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    Fencing How-Tos and Tips

    Ralph Harris Fencing Tips

    By   1 month ago

    When I started using electric fence back in 1997, I knew so little that I wasn’t even sure which questions to ask. I remember spending a lot of time on the phone with a Kencove salesman asking questions, not understanding his answers, ordering things anyway just to see if looking at them would help me make sense […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Your Success Comes From Pasture Plant Structure and Quality and Animals’ Grazing Skills

      P1140730

      By   6 hours ago

      Forage intake is key to animal performance. Grazers do best when the forage is a certain height and quality, AND when they have experience with grazing those kinds of plants.

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      Healthy Soils Hold Water, But Not Too Much

      A pasture after rain. There's some standing water, probably where the herd hangs out a lot.

      By   1 week ago

      Here’s how to make sure your soils hold enough water, but not too much.

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      Give Your Soil a Physical

      Unhealthy and health soil from the same site. Photo courtesy of the dirtdoctor.com

      By   2 weeks ago

      Are you healthy? It is easier to identify an unhealthy person or animal than it is to identify one that is healthy. So it is with soil. Who decides what healthy soil is, and how can you tell how healthy your soil is? The definition I use for a healthy agricultural soil is this: a […]

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      Cover Cropping Now For Next Spring

      CoverCropsLivestockWinningSm

      By   3 weeks ago

      Editors Note:  We’ve shared quite a few articles on cover crops and how they can help folks raising livestock on pasture. Now, here’s an article from Genevieve Slocum at King’s Agriseed about what you might plant this fall to reduce your feed bill while improving your soils for this coming spring. Cover crops, including those […]

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      Reseeding Pastures? Here’s What You Need to Know Now

      pasture-management-2

      By   4 weeks ago

      Early August to mid-September is an excellent time to plant cool-season grasses. One of the advantages of seeding this time of the year as compared to a spring seeding is lower competition from weeds and getting enough good growth to guarantee them to survive the coming winter months. Moisture is really not much of an […]

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      Knap-Time

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      By   1 month ago

      Troy has some great ideas and experience dealing with pesky knapweed. By the end of the article you might be thinking of it as an excellent forage too!

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      Overcoming Poor Soil Health on the Road to Multi-Species Grazing

      Russ Wilson Talks Soil Health

      By   1 month ago

      In this video from the Capital Resource Conservation District’s “Soil Health Project,” Russ Wilson talks about the challenges he faced when he bought a former crop farm that he wanted to use for multi-species grazing. With poor soil, he could barely grow feed for his livestock. But several years and lots of lime in, he’s […]

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      Mechanics of Soil Compaction in Pastures

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      By   2 months ago

      Soil compaction can be a big problem on any kind of farmland, whether it’s cropland or pasture. Soil compaction makes it harder for plant roots to penetrate the soil, reduces water infiltration and air exchange, limits the ability of plants to use some nutrients, and increases the chances of water erosion. Traffic of any kind, […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Caring For Your Organic Dairy Cow

        Lisa's husband milking one of their cows.

        By   6 hours ago

        “The only certain thing about animal diseases seemed to be man’s inability to prevent or cure most of them. It was not until I had experienced these diseases in my own herd and started at the beginning in my attempt to eliminate and prevent them, instead of accepting the diseases and treating them as inevitable, […]

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        Grazing Without Fences: the Economics of Supplement Blocks to Target Grazing

        Cows lick molasses block

        By   6 hours ago

        Are your livestock under-using some parts of your pasture? Would you like an alternative to fencing to get them to graze in those places? Well, here’s a potential solution for moving your livestock across large landscapes and help them gain more weight too. Xcel-based calculators are included to help you estimate costs of using this tool.

        Read More →

        Your Success Comes From Pasture Plant Structure and Quality and Animals’ Grazing Skills

        P1140730

        By   6 hours ago

        Forage intake is key to animal performance. Grazers do best when the forage is a certain height and quality, AND when they have experience with grazing those kinds of plants.

        Read More →

        Cattle and Bison are Better Than You At Feed Mixing

        Bison in feedlot

        By   1 week ago

        If you give them the opportunity, your livestock can mix their own diets so that they gain weight well, and do it for less money.

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        Pluck N’ Grit: Getting a Small Poultry Processing Facility Off the Ground

        Renee Kreinbring welcomes customers into the small office with an intake form, hot coffee, & a warm smile.

        By   1 week ago

        Here is the story of two women who built their own poultry processing facility and the steps you might expect if you’d like to do the same.

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        Why Livestock Die From Eating Poisonous Plants

        Figure 3. In 1971, 1250 dead sheep scatter the
range after they over-ingested halogeton near
Garrison, Utah. The availability of livestock
water was limited and the range was heavily
infested with halogeton. In this case, poor
management led to the deaths of these sheep.

        By   2 weeks ago

        Animals come with a built-in mechanism to protect themselves from eating poisonous things. Here’s what you need to know about how it works and what you can do to keep your livestock safe.

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        Cage Free Eggs Are Not All They’re Cracked Up to Be

        What cage-free hens look like.

        By   3 weeks ago

        The results of a 3-year study were released last March and they show that the health and well-being for cage-free hens and the people who care for them is actually worse than the conventional caged system. This comes at a time when visibility for how our eggs are produced is on the rise. Recently, actor Ryan […]

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        Measuring Performance Per Animal vs Per Acre

        Cow P411-3 Crop

        By   4 weeks ago

        For the last 50+ years, nearly all of the so-called “experts” in the beef industry have been focused on one thing – increasing individual animal performance – weaning weight, for the most part. This is why all of today’s status quo beef producers adhere to what I am going to call the “Increase Individual Animal […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Grazing Without Fences: the Economics of Supplement Blocks to Target Grazing

          Cows lick molasses block

          By   6 hours ago

          Are your livestock under-using some parts of your pasture? Would you like an alternative to fencing to get them to graze in those places? Well, here’s a potential solution for moving your livestock across large landscapes and help them gain more weight too. Xcel-based calculators are included to help you estimate costs of using this tool.

          Read More →

          Pluck N’ Grit: Getting a Small Poultry Processing Facility Off the Ground

          Renee Kreinbring welcomes customers into the small office with an intake form, hot coffee, & a warm smile.

          By   1 week ago

          Here is the story of two women who built their own poultry processing facility and the steps you might expect if you’d like to do the same.

          Read More →

          Shade Is Good For Your Bottom Line

          Dairy Production Losses Due to Heat Stress

          By   2 weeks ago

          This week we’re sharing the first article in a series by Brett Chedzoy about how to go about adding trees to open pastures. As Brett has mentioned in past articles, trees provide a number of important services to us and our livestock including providing an additional product in the form of lumber, and sheltering animals from […]

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          Romance vs. Reality Part 2: Hard Lessons Learned in a Grass-fed Beef Marketing Cooperative

          By   3 weeks ago

          Editor’s Note: Last week we shared the first half of this article.  This is part two in series that comes to us from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and was written by Annie Wilson, member and former business manager of Tallgrass Prairie Producers Co-op. The Co-op operated from 1995 to 2000, raising and marketing grass-fed beef […]

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          Romance vs. Reality Part 1: Hard Lessons Learned in a Grass-fed Beef Marketing Cooperative

          The tall grass prairie of Kansas is a beautiful place.

          By   4 weeks ago

          Editor’s Note: This two-articles series  comes to us from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and was written by Annie Wilson, member and former business manager of Tallgrass Prairie Producers Co-op. The Co-op operated from 1995 to 2000, raising and marketing grass-fed beef from ten Kansas ranches. It ceased active operation in 2000. She offers the […]

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          Left Handed Logic – Figuring per Calf Costs

          How much can your calves carry?

          By   1 month ago

          In this excerpt from his book “Time to Change” Colorado Rancher Chip Hines shows how shifting per cow costs to your saleable animals gives you a whole new look at how to cover costs and make profits.

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          Bread & Butter Farm: An Example of Creative Financing

          BreadandButterFarm

          By   1 month ago

          Editors Note: This piece, prepared by Carrie Abels, comes to us from Vermont’s Farm to Plate, and describes “How Bread & Butter Farm worked with a patchwork quilt of funding sources to keep land conserved for agriculture.” Whether you’re in a start-up phase or you’ve been farming or ranching for a long time, you could get some […]

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          Are You Working for Nothing?

          If you're working for nothing, maybe you'd like one of these charms. Click to order 10 of them for $7.55 :-)

          By   2 months ago

          Don shares some examples of mistakes that cost him and other producers money. They might inspire you to rethink some of what you do so that you’re not working for nothing.

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            Consider This View All →

            It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

            A sweet brown cow enjoying a field of grass overlooking the Mohawk Valley. Photo by Troy Bishopp

            By   6 hours ago

            After a summer of working together, Troy is sending his summer interns off into the world to do good things.

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            Dairy Cows Save Elephants

            hidden elephant_4ac396d26c1a6_hires

            By   1 week ago

            When I saw the article in the Washington Post I thought, “I know that farm! I’ve been there!” So I called Bobby Prigel to see how he felt about his herd of Jerseys working on a project to save African elephants and rhinoceros from poachers.  He said, “Oh, that’s what those folks were doing? I […]

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            Managing Heat Stress Across Your Farm

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            By   2 weeks ago

            Heat stress can be a significant cause of economic loss on the farm during the warmer months of the year. Excessive heat, humidity, drought, and over grazing can take a toll on your farm at many levels. Heat equates to stress on your animals, your crops, and your labor force (you). To successfully manage the […]

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            What Do You See?

            cattle-786401_640

            By   3 weeks ago

            Different people see different things when they look at their pastures. Don Ashford gives examples of what he sees to get you thinking about your own eye sight.

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            The Livestock Buffet Line

            Thanks to thehinzadventures for this photoshop picture.

            By   4 weeks ago

            Editors Note: Jess Jackson says that it seems he’s been learning to communicate almost all his life. “Just expressing my thoughts in a way that other people can understand is like pushing marshmallows into a parking meter,” he says. But when he paints mental pictures he’s found communication becomes easier.  He’ll be sharing some of the pictures he’s […]

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            How Can I Tell If a Change is Worth Making?

            FarmersExperimentQuote

            By   1 month ago

            Do you want to know if that fertilizer treatment is working? Or would you like to know if a particular management practice is worth implementing on your whole farm or ranch? You need to do a little on-farm research, and here’s booklet that can help you get started.

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            How Plants Tell Time

            Plant Clock

            By   1 month ago

            Since our lives depend on plants, it might help if we understand what time they think it is. This TED-ed lesson is a quick look at how circadian rhythms, chemical chain reactions and more keep the world running. It’s 4 minutes that will get you looking at what your plants are doing out there in […]

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            Earworm Cures

            Worm plus ear (public domain, via wikimedia commons)

            By   2 months ago

            Earworms are those songs that repeat over and over in your head. Now, here are some cures.

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              The Funnies View All →

              Halloween Costumes for Spotted Critters

              Screenshot 2015-08-13 11.14.33

              By   6 hours ago

              You might want to plan ahead for Halloween. Anyone in your herd with interesting spots?

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              The Best Bacon Ever

              bacon-1024x679

              By   1 week ago

              Is this label USDA approved? Is their bacon grass-fed?  Does anyone care?

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              Watch Those Tan-Lines!

              SmallTanlines

              By   2 weeks ago

              Here’s another downside of those personal electronic devices that you might need to warn your kids about.

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              Beefsteak Slicing Diagram

              Unknown-5

              By   3 weeks ago

              When they’re really big, you’ll need this.   Or if you’ve got time on your hands, and you’re patient not to just eat those home grown tomatoes RIGHT NOW:    

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              Pulled Pork Farm

              20130701-257586-best-pulled-pork-sandwich-chicago-lillies-q-3

              By   4 weeks ago

              This is how it’s really made!

              Read More →

              World’s Best Toaster

              Voice Activated Toaster

              By   1 month ago

              What would you do with this toaster if it suddenly appeared at your home or office? Rachel and Kathy thought they might try it out at home, but then realized they’re the only ones who make toast. Kind of loses it’s fun factor then!  But do let us know what happens if you have a […]

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              Bird Identification Question

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              By   1 month ago

              If you know the answer, please post below!

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              You’ll Be Singing All Day Long!

              Unknown-1

              By   2 months ago

              It’s funny, it’s farmey, and will get you singing a song. You’re welcome! 😉   If you need a cure to keep you from singing this song in your head the rest of the day, check out this week’s “Consider This” on Earworm Cures.

              Read More →
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