The Scoop View All →

Learning to speak another language is good for graziers

By   2 days ago

This week we’ve got three articles about communicating in another language. First, Greg Judy talks to us about fence chargers, using a language put together by electrical engineers. If you don’t know what a volt or a joule is or why we care, I translate this language into something more useful for the every day […]

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Remembering Chip Hines

By   1 week ago

I recently learned that Arlen Chip Hines passed away last fall after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. And while this comes some months late, I don’t want to let his passing go without acknowledging the contribution he made to my life and to the lives of so many others. Chip was born and raised on […]

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Coming in March: Online Grazing Program Focused on Dairy Herds

By   2 weeks ago

Survey respondents asked for more information on dairy grazing. I’m working on it, but in the meantime, here’s a really great alternative!   Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Regional Dairy Specialists are presenting a six-webinar series covering the ins and outs of grazing. You’ll get  tips for improving the health and productivity of your herd and pastures […]

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Google Translates On Pasture

By   3 weeks ago

To the reader who responded to our survey asking if I could add a Google Translate button, thank you so much for your suggestion. Yes! It turns out I can install a button! In fact it only took me about ten minutes to figure out what I needed to do and get the button installed. […]

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Fertility Matters

By   4 weeks ago

Since soil fertility is a hot topic, this week we’ve got three articles to help you out. First, we take a look at the history of synthetic fertilizer and bust a myth going around about its impact on soil microbes. Then we look at compost tea and whether or not farmers have success with it […]

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Putting Your Grazing Jigsaw Puzzle Together

By   1 month ago

The holiday season is traditionally a time when my Mom and I do jigsaw puzzles together, and this year, it’s extended into January. We’ve done some old ones, some new ones, and exchanged some with a friend up the street from my folks’ house too. And that’s how we found our favorite kind. They’re made […]

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Giving Graziers What They Want

By   1 month ago

As you’ll see from the Working Cows Podcast we’re sharing this week, providing the right information at the right time is a tricky business. You have to know what graziers want, how much time they have for reading or listening, and then do all the work to put together the information in a format that […]

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Good News Heading into 2021

By   2 months ago

As I was wrapping On Pasture up for the winter break, I ran across some bits of good news that might add to the cheerfulness we all seem to be experiencing heading into 2021. These are things that won’t make big headlines in most places, but you might like them just the same. So, here […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Greg Judy has answers for your fence charger questions!

    By   2 days ago

    As we’re heading into grazing season, fence chargers are on our minds. So, here’s Greg Judy with a video on fence chargers and how he chooses them, and how he makes sure he’s got good ground going to them. I’ve added a slightly edited transcript below, for those who prefer to read instead of watch. […]

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    Plant growth under rotational grazing

    By   1 week ago

    ALERT: A little more science, but this time we take it to the next step – using science as background for creating a grazing plan that is sustainable for the pasture plants and our livestock.

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    Collect More Sunshine to Grow More Grass

    By   2 weeks ago

    ALERT: It’s science time again and we’re going to show you what you need to know to use your livestock to manage your pasture solar collectors so they’re always catching the maximum amount of sunlight.

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    Turn Sunshine Into $ by Understanding How Plants Grow

    By   3 weeks ago

    In preparation for the 2021 grazing season, let’s go over a little science about how your pasture plants grow. It’s something every grazier should know and we’ve added some ideas about how you can use this information to get more out of your grazing program.

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    Fran Fritz on Trying Things and Choosing How To Do Them

    By   4 weeks ago

    Listening to Fran Fritz, it’s clear her motto is, “Try.” And so she does, even when it means she’s the only one trying something. It’s a motto that’s good for all of us to hear, and maybe take on as our own. Fran was born and raised in Iroquois, South Dakota. After high school she […]

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    As Little as One Week’s Work a Year Can Significantly Improve Riparian Health

    By   1 month ago

    Riparian areas are those narrow strips of vegetation that surround creeks, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. They’re very productive areas, and important wildlife habitat. Healthy riparian areas mean good water quality for everyone downstream too. They’re also easy to damage with bad grazing management. That’s why, in recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in regulations […]

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    Does Cattle Grazing Reduce Fire Fuels and Fire Danger?

    By   1 month ago

    The last few fire seasons have clearly demonstrated that fires are coming more frequently and at sizes that challenge our ability to fight and/or control them. While grazing has been considered and even sometimes used as a fire prevention tool, the actual success and impact have not been clearly documented. This research is another step […]

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    Grazing for Weed Management

    By   2 months ago

    Some years ago, when their ranch was suffering from a western snowberry invasion, the Permans did something many folks have done. They called in aerial sprayers and blanket sprayed their pastures. What Garnet Perman says they learned is “We’re never doing that again.” Why? “We killed a lot of trees, we killed a lot of […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      When your plants talk, listen!

      By   2 days ago

      “Ouch,” says the once tall range plant that was just bitten off for the fifteenth time. It says, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to die.” Interesting, plants don’t talk with words, but they do communicate just by their appearance. After all, don’t people also communicate with body language? This plant talk thing is a […]

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      How much feed can Honey Locust add to your stockpile?

      By   1 week ago

      “The tree grows in a Bermuda pasture and is always loaded in the fall with luscious fruit. The cows and hogs stand under it, always ready to devour every pod that falls. The tree is very large and very, very beautiful. The cows improve in milk and the hogs in weight when the locusts ripen, […]

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      Impacts of Fall and Winter Grazing on Spring Regrowth

      By   2 weeks ago

      It might be early February, but I’m already thinking about new spring forage growth and I guarantee the livestock are too. In the past, we’ve discussed the impact of fall management on the next spring growth and production, but how much impact does it really have? There are a lot of factors that influence spring […]

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      Collect More Sunshine to Grow More Grass

      By   2 weeks ago

      ALERT: It’s science time again and we’re going to show you what you need to know to use your livestock to manage your pasture solar collectors so they’re always catching the maximum amount of sunlight.

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      Is Compost Tea a Good Way to Add Nutrients and Microbes to Soil?

      By   3 weeks ago

      Last week’s article on the results of on-farm research about the value of compost tea raised some questions from readers. To answer them, I’ve brought in Robert Pavlis. Robert has a background in chemistry and biochemistry, is a Master Gardener, and author of the book, Soil Science for Gardeners, an easy-to-read, practical guide to the […]

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      Synthetic Fertilizer – Where it Comes From and What it Does and Doesn’t Do

      By   4 weeks ago

      This week John Marble writes about the economics of adding fertilizer to pastures, so we thought it was a good time to take a closer look at nitrogen and fertilizer. This piece was inspired by some info John provided about nitrogen and it’s potential impacts. A Little Background In his 1898 inaugural address as president […]

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      It’s Time to Start Thinking About Frost-Seeding Legumes

      By   1 month ago

      This is especially for the readers who responded to the survey saying they’d like to know how to introduce legumes into pasture. Enjoy! (And if you haven’t filled out the survey yet, here’s your chance!) Frost seeding is one of the least expensive ways to enhance the stand of legumes in your pastures. It is […]

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      Honey Locust – King of Stockpiles

      By   1 month ago

      Do you know how much forage you have stockpiled for this winter? What would you do with 2,000 extra pounds of high-energy, self-harvested feed per acre? What about 4,000lbs? What would that do to your feed bill? How would that change your bottom line? Having that much extra winter forage doesn’t have to be something […]

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        Livestock View All →

        What does the cow say?

        By   2 days ago

        Alexandra Green sees the humor in her work when she declares that someday she hopes to be a “cowmoonicator.” Green has been studying the vocal behavior of dairy cattle. Her work has shown that individuals have distinct voices, and that there are specific “moos” that communicate information. Working with a herd of 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers […]

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        Practical Advice For Growing a Parasite Resistant Herd

        By   1 week ago

        Some time back, I wrote about grazing management to reduce parasites, and in particular liver flukes. These modest management changes appears to be a simple way to reduce parasite populations and help us when parasites have developed resistance to the wormers we relied on in the past. To refresh your memory, here are the practices […]

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        Moving Bulls Safely

        By   2 weeks ago

        Thanks to the Beef Quality Assurance program for this helpful video about how to be safe around bulls. For those of you who have slow internet speeds, or who prefer reading to watching, I put together a transcript for you, below. Enjoy! Handling bulls is a really different situation and each bull’s going to be […]

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        Goat Kidding Tips – And an Idea for Timing Births That Works No Matter What You Raise

        By   3 weeks ago

        Back in 1998, when I was two years into my research project looking at the best ways to manage goats to build firebreaks and manage vegetation, a fellow Utah State University researcher gave me 35 does because he was done with his own research. To my project partner and I it seemed like the next […]

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        Newborn Resuscitation Dos and Don’ts

        By   4 weeks ago

        This article comes to us from the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada. We’ll be including future articles in this series that include newborn calf management practices and intervention strategies to help producers create positive calving outcomes. For those of you raising small ruminants, check out these resuscitation tips and then check the link for […]

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        Baby It’s Cold Outside! Watch Out For Livestock

        By   1 month ago

        The Polar Vortex is headed our way, potentially bringing very cold weather. Here’s what you need to know.

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        Considering Adding Broilers? Here’s a Tool to Help You Plan

        By   1 month ago

        Poultry processing regulations are one of the primary challenges for small farms hoping to add broilers to their farms. To give small farms a chance, in many states, there are exemptions for small farms to make. You’ll need to check your local regulations, but here in Vermont, the 1,000 or less bird exemption allows farms […]

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        Calving Season Timing – Three Producers on Why They Choose Fall, Winter or Summer

        By   2 months ago

        Thanks to the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada for this great article! Just as every farm operates with an independent set of circumstances, and every farmer is unique themselves, calving season is going to look different on every operation. There is no one right method or time of year to calve a cow herd. […]

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          Consider This View All →

          Baby jumping spiders suckle milk from their moms

          By   2 days ago

          No, I don’t expect we’ll be milking spiders in the future. But it’s fun to I learn something new and surprising about life on this planet!

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          A Writer’s Ripening – and answers to a conservation planning survey

          By   2 weeks ago

          Writers are a funny lot. We’re driven to put thoughts down on paper and we each develop our own techniques for inviting in the muse and then working with her. Troy Bishopp is at his desk in the middle of the night – ripening, and answering questions, whether it’s a conservation planning feedback survey, or the question of how he even writes at 4 am. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing his process, and take a moment to think about his answers to the survey.

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          Is Increased Production Worth the Cost of the Fertilizer?

          By   4 weeks ago

          I recently had the pleasure of hosting a pasture walk for a group of University students, young people who wanted to chat about plants, animals, grazing, fencing, water…in other words, all the things I am constantly talking about. Our conversation included bits of philosophy too, and some thoughts about the direction of our industry. Somewhere […]

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          Working Cows Podcast With Clay Conry, Kathy Voth and Tip Hudson

          By   1 month ago

          Have you ever wanted to see behind the scenes of the publications or podcasts that you listen to? Well here’s your chance! Back in November of 2020, I spent an hour with Clay Conry and Tip Hudson talking about the work we do to provide information and support to the grazing community. Clay is the […]

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          Thoughts and Lessons From Decades of Farming

          By   2 months ago

          I met Don and Betty Ashford in September of 2014 when I went to Louisiana to talk about how to train cows to eat weeds. Betty made Monkey Bread for me, I fed her and all the pasture walk participants cricket brownies and fried larvae, and the cows learned to eat horse nettle, teaweed/prickly sida, […]

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          You Never Know How Things Will Work Out – But They Usually Do

          By   2 months ago

          These stories from Don Ashford remind us all that life is a winding road, and as the scenery changes, we change with it. It’s a good reminder that resilience lives in us, helping us move on and keep going. Karen, our daughter, was born in Sept. of 1959 and we moved to the Dixon place […]

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          30 Years of Experiments Predict Crop Response to Rising Atmospheric Carbon

          By   3 months ago

          This research covers implications for the pasture “crops” we raise to feed our livestock.

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          Engineered Soil Pulls Moisture From Air to Water Plants

          By   3 months ago

          Thanks to the University of Texas at Austin for this article. A new type of soil created by engineers at The University of Texas at Austin can pull water from the air and distribute it to plants, potentially expanding the map of farmable land around the globe to previously inhospitable places and reducing water use […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Can grazing be a low-input pasture renovation tool?

            By   2 days ago

            I’ve seen questions lately about how to revive old, worn fields. So, from March 2015, here’s the results of one woman’s research on using her herd to bring back an old pasture. In 2009, Jane Hansen received a North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant to see if she could renovate a long […]

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            Are you choosing the right females for your herd?

            By   1 week ago

            This article comes to us from March of 2017. While Steve Freeman focuses on cattle, the principles he’s using can be adapted to other livestock as well. Two of my favorite subjects are cattle and baseball. Two of my favorite books on these subjectsare “The Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Raising” by Laurie Lasater and “MoneyBall” […]

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            The Benefits of Calving on Grass in Pasture

            Calf in Pasture

            By   2 weeks ago

            From our friends in Alberta Agriculture in Canada, here’s a 5-minute video of ranchers describing why they prefer May calving on grass. Jess Hudson of Hudson Ranch in Bashaw, Alberta describes it like this: “The grass system for me, with good weather, works really well. The cows will spread all out, have their calf, mother […]

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            Here’s What Would Happen if We Got Rid of All Livestock in the U.S.

            By   3 weeks ago

            From our 2018 archives, here’s what the research tells us. What if we got rid of all livestock? Would that reduce greenhouse gases? And what would we eat instead? Those are some of the questions that authors Robin White and Mary Beth Hall tried to answer. To see what would happen they modeled a United […]

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            Is Compost Tea Good for Soil Health?

            By   4 weeks ago

            This article is a condensed version of a series of a two article series from January of 2016. (Here is Part 1 and Part 2.) The results of this on-farm research are similar to the result Greg Judy described to me when he worked with Elaine Ingham on a trial of compost tea on his […]

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            Riparian Grazing – Why don’t we do the right thing?

            By   1 month ago

            From March of 2018, Troy Bishopp takes a look at growing concerns over riparian management and its effect on water quality, farmers and ranchers are facing tightening regulations and restrictions on grazing next to streams and water bodies. Here, Troy wonders if we, as graziers, are doing all we can to protect water quality and […]

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            Orchestrating a Diversified Livestock Operation

            By   1 month ago

            Another request from readers was to talk some more about diversified or multi-species grazing operations. This article from Sandra Miller is the first we’ll share this year. Stay tuned for more! On old MacDonald’s Farm, there were all types of animals—here a moo, there an oink and over there a cluck, cluck—but managing multiple species […]

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            Thinking of New Year’s Resolutions? Try This Instead

            By   2 months ago

            From January of 2019, here’s a better way to approach the New Year. Another year has come and gone and now comes the time for all of the resolutions to be made for the New Year. Folks resolve to lose weight, quit smoking or dipping, cut back on their drinking, exercise more – you know, […]

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              Money Matters View All →

              Business Planning Made Less Painful

              By   1 week ago

              If you’re dreaming of starting a grazing operation, if you’ve ever asked “what kind of animals should I raise?” if you’re considering adding a new enterprise, or would like to get a loan to expand, a business plan is in your future. Why? Business planning helps you ask questions that clarify where you want to […]

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              Here’s the One Number That Correlates Directly to Profitability

              By   3 weeks ago

              Dallas Mount has a question: “If you could only show me one number on your ranch that directly correlated to the profitability of your cow-calf operation, what would that number be?” He says that traditionally folks assume the answer is weaning weight or price received for calves. But it turns out they’re wrong. The answer […]

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              Do You Know Who Your Market Is?

              By   1 month ago

              Marketing is the life blood of any farming enterprise. As cattle producers we have sold most of our stuff at the sale barn. We have sold some on a couple of video sales but were not even a little satisfied. Last year we sold some calves to a young couple who are just starting to […]

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              Grazing Business Instructions for the New Year

              By   2 months ago

              As you opened gifts this Christmas, some may have included instruction manuals, often full of ridiculous legal jargon. Those manuals aren’t very useful and tend to get thrown out with the used wrapping paper and boxes. But what if you got an instruction manual that was actually useful to your grazing operation? I’m not talking […]

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              New Ideas to Solve Old Problems

              By   2 months ago

              John Marble focuses on helping us take a new look at things we might take for granted. Examples include his thoughts on paddock design and moving livestock, and his article “From Minimal To Mob – Lifestyle and Economic Considerations for Designing your Grazing Program” where he gets us to think about how many times a […]

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              Farm Data: A Little Can go a Long Way to Making Good Decisions

              By   3 months ago

                We all know that the explosion of big data retention and analysis is affecting our daily lives, but can your farm data help you with your business? YUP. As the brilliant Doc. Brown stated in the documentary Back to the Future, “you don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” […]

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              Record Keeping and the Importance of Journaling

              By   3 months ago

              In keeping with the spirit of the Thanksgiving week, here’s a little something about how record keeping can make us remember the past and be grateful. There have been, over the years, many discussions of the importance of records in the livestock business. There are production records. There are breeding and birthing records. There are […]

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              How Much Should I Charge/Pay for Pasture Rental?

              By   4 months ago

              Good question! And one I’ve been asked quite often. One good place to start is at the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. NASS is the federal agency tasked gathering and reporting the facts on American agriculture for people working in and depending on the industry. In addition to a Census of Agriculture every five years, […]

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