The Scoop View All →

Greg Judy’s Newest Book is Now Available!

By   4 days ago

Well, this is exciting! 🙂 Greg Judy’s latest book, “How to Think Like a Grazier – Inspiration, Mentors and Getting It Done” is hot off the presses. I’m excited about it for two reasons: 1) As the editor for this project, I’m really tickled about how it came together, and 2) I think graziers will […]

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Will You Watch This Show About a Guy Learning to Farm?

By   2 weeks ago

When Jeremy Clarkson’s farm manager retired in 2019, he didn’t hire a new one. Instead he thought, “I can do that,” explaining, “You put seeds in the ground, weather happens, it’s not difficult.” Heck, he even decided to add a flock of sheep for good measure. Then experience taught him some things. “It’s phenomenally difficult […]

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How to Use the Most Important Tool A Grazier Has

By   3 weeks ago

We all have one, and oddly, it doesn’t come with instructions. But when given the proper care, it can be the solution to every problem we encounter as a grazier. Yes, it’s your brain. At 2% of your body weight, your brain accounts for 20% of your energy use – between 250 and 350 calories […]

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How to Reduce Stress on the Farm or Ranch

By   4 weeks ago

I used to own goats. And as you all know, goats get out. And when they’re out they do bad things, like dance on the roof of your neighbor’s car. Or you get calls like, “Kathy, the goats are out and they’re eating the general’s flowers.” That was a Saturday and my husband and I […]

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Free Grazing 101 Ebook and Online Courses Available

By   1 month ago

I love it when a plan comes together! Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working with the National Grazing Lands Coalition and Yvette Gibson to put together some new, FREE resources to help folks up their grazing game. And now, I’m just so tickled to present the Grazing 101 ebook, and three online […]

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Drought is Coming For You

By   1 month ago

I’m a bit worried about what this grazing season has in store for many of us. Let’s just start right off by looking at the Vegetation Drought Response Index for the United States as of April 25. This map combines current satellite data and information about soils, land cover, land use and ecological settings that […]

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Livestock Surprises

By   2 months ago

The thing about raising livestock is you never know exactly what’s going to happen, but whatever it is, it’s probably going to be messy. My friend Sandy has lots of stories about her messy life with livestock. My favorites involve her prepping to go on a date, only to realize, as her date is pulling […]

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Management By Principle

By   2 months ago

For the past 8 years I’ve published 5 to 6 “How-To” articles a week. Because readers live everywhere across the United States, and the world, I often focus on principles. I like principles because they’re a way of understanding the how things work so that I can adapt, build, and manage to meet my goals. […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Is Your Grass Getting Ahead of You? Here’s What to Do

    By   4 days ago

    I have always been a promoter of forage/pasture staging.  It’s a way of making sure all your forage doesn’t mature at the same time, and instead remains as vegetative as possible for as long as possible. But, where drought is a factor, or when a cool spring suddenly warms up, make that extremely challenging. Here […]

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    Fencing Solutions You’ll Like

    By   4 days ago

    From June of 2016, an article that’s always timely. It’s that time of year when you’re putting up fence, taking it down and wondering if there’s a better way. We thought we’d help out with some suggestions. Then, add your own ideas in the comments. Your fellow farmers and ranchers can use all the fencing […]

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    Moving Livestock Watering to New Heights

    By   2 weeks ago

    Getting water to the herd can be one of the most challenging parts of a grazing system. Without water, weight gain takes a dive, or pastures become unusable. On the other hand, those luck enough to have a pond, stream or river in pasture face another challenge: using that water source without harming it. That’s […]

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    Harvesting Free Sunlight Successfully Requires This One Thing

    By   3 weeks ago

    Free for the taking. Free lunch. Absolutely no cost. Something for nothing. Don’t you love it when you can get something for free? Input costs keep rising. Seed, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, hay, supplements, trucking – everything seems to get more expensive. But miraculously, the most important input is still free. That input is sunlight. Grassland […]

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    Options for Managing Stocking Rates to Fit Available Forage

    By   4 weeks ago

    One of the most common problems I’ve been seeing lately is folks running out of forage for the number of animals they have. The problem grows when drought is factored in. Graziers have questions about what they should do in these cases, and Aaron Berger has some answers.   Current drought conditions across many parts […]

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    Five Principles of Grazing Management

    By   1 month ago

    Thanks to Scott Jensen, University of Idaho Extension out of Owyhee County for this great article. He takes concepts that lots of folks talk about and puts them into easy to understand steps. Common to many cattle producers around the world is the fear of wasting grass. “No blade left behind” could be a resounding […]

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    Crop Farmers and Graziers Working Together – Feeding Livestock and Building Soil

    By   1 month ago

    A couple weeks ago, Brendon Rockey, a potato farmer, shared how he developed an agreement with a neighbor to graze his cover crops. His takeaways for developing agreements are something any of us can use. To add to that, this week, we listen in on a conversation among crop growers who are also working with […]

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    This Year’s Drought Outlook and What to Do About It

    By   1 month ago

    The US Weather Service has issued its drought prediction for the next 90 days and for some of us the news is not good. In fact, for some of us, the news is even worse than last year when Kathy and I shared this information with you. So here, updated from April of 2020 is […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      I’ve Got This Weed In My Pasture. What Does It Tell Me About My Soil?

      By   4 days ago

      Can weeds tell you about soil health issues? Well, yes and no. I’ve got a lot of experience with weeds since I’ve spent the last 17 years teaching cattle, sheep, goats and bison to eat them under all kinds of soil conditions and all kinds of landscapes. My observation is that spotted knapweed does well […]

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      Can Cattle Eat Leafy Spurge?

      By   2 weeks ago

      Some time ago, I got this email from Jamie in Nebraska: Dear Kathy, I am interested in your way of controlling leafy spurge with cattle, however, I was informed that leafy spurge was toxic to cattle. I guess my question is how much can they eat before they become sick? I have a 600 acre […]

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      Weeds Are NOT the Problem!

      By   2 weeks ago

      In the last few weeks I have attended a couple of field day, farm tour type of affairs. To my knowledge none of them were sponsored by any of the chemical companies directly, but listening to the folks putting on these things you could very easily believe were in the employ of these companies. At […]

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      What’s Your Soil’s Texture?

      By   3 weeks ago

      Figuring out your soil’s texture is as easy as mud pie. Here we show you how to do a little hands on testing.

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      Predatory Soil Bacteria Hunt Like Vampires and Wolves, Helping Move Carbon Through the Soil

      By   4 weeks ago

      Scientists studying soils are working hard to help us understand what’s going on underneath our feet. It looks like some of what’s happening is a lot like what happens above ground, only on a microscopic scale, with predators hunting and eating prey. While we’ve known about these interactions, we now know that it is part […]

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      Here’s What Short Grazing Does to Spring Regrowth

      By   1 month ago

      As you walk or drive your ATV around your pastures, you may notice differences in plant growth. The reasons for those differences can vary but include irregularities in fertility, last autumn’s stop grazing heights, soils, compaction, rest after grazing and the forages themselves. Continuous grazing can be a contributor to differences in plant growth. Back […]

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      Dancing Roots – The Secret of How Plants Push Through Compacted Soils

      By   1 month ago

      In the past we’ve written about research that shows plants are better at reducing soil compaction than subsoilers. But how do can they do that? Well, today’s story gives us the answer courtesy of researchers at Duke University. Thanks to Robin Smith and Veronique Koch for this excellent story! Be sure to watch the roots […]

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      How Rising Temperatures Affect Plants’ Ability to Survive

      By   2 months ago

      Thanks for this article go to Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, University of Illinois News Bureau Agricultural scientists who study climate change often focus on how increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will affect crop yields. But rising temperatures are likely to complicate the picture, researchers report in a new review of the topic. Published in […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Shade Options for Grazing Cattle – Natural, Permanent and DIY Portable

        By   4 days ago

        It’s that time of year when grazers begin asking each other, “What do you do to get shade to your animals?” Here’s why it’s helpful to YOU to provide shade, and 3 different options for making it happen. Why is Shade Important? Adding some shade to pastures, especially in places where the weather is both […]

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        Reduce Early Pregnancy Loss in Cattle

        By   2 weeks ago

        According to Rick Funston, Nebraska Extension Beef Cattle Reproductive Physiologist, transportation stress, heat stress, diagnosing pregnancy and nutrition at breeding are all factors that can lead to early pregnancy loss in cattle. From his recent BeefWatch article, here’s what to watch for and what to do to prevent loss. Transportation Stress When trailering cattle to […]

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        Keep Pregnant Sows Cool to Ensure Healthy Piglets

        By   3 weeks ago

        Thanks to Jan Suszkiw, USDA Agricultural Research Service for this fine article on the research showing impacts of heat-stress on piglets. For those of you who raise cattle, be aware that heat stress is also an issue for pregnant cows and can alter offspring immune function, as noted in this Interpretive Summary from the article […]

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        Kathy’s Principles for Working With Livestock

        By   4 weeks ago

        Over the last few weeks I’ve been highlighting the importance of principles. To me, principles are the key points to remember. They’re the building blocks for developing a successful plan to accomplish whatever I’d like to do. With that in mind, here are my principles for working with livestock. They grew out of seven years […]

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        Make Sure Young Animals Have Plenty of Water to Promote Rumen Growth and Weight Gain

        By   1 month ago

        Making sure calves, lambs, and kids have access to dry feed and water early in life improves rumen development, encourages weight gain, and provides a good start for a healthy growing animal. Karla Wilke describes why in her recent BeefWatch article, using cattle as an example. One-month-old calves begin eating the cow’s feed and small […]

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        What Happens When Johne’s Disease Appears in Your Herd? Part 2

        By   1 month ago

        Johne’s disease is a wasting disease with no cure. It is found in more than 50% of dairy herds in the U.S. and can affect beef cattle, sheep and goats. Last week I shared the first part of this story, covering the discovery of the disease in my research goat herd, our first look at […]

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        What Happens When Johne’s Disease Appears in Your Herd? Part 1

        By   2 months ago

        Johne’s disease is a wasting disease with no cure. It is found in more than 50% of dairy herds in the U.S. and can affect beef cattle, sheep and goats. Here’s my story of my encounter with the disease in my goat herd and how you can use my experience to save yourself some grief.

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        How to Hand Raise Goat Kids

        By   2 months ago

        I first published this story in November of 2017. It’s full of great lessons about caring for young animals and for those faced with hand-raising a lot of baby goats or lambs, the early weaning feed recipe is a life saver. There are a number of reasons you might be raising goat kids by hand. […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Success Means Working ON the Business, Not IN the Business

          By   4 days ago

          Most people blame things beyond our control like the weather, government regulation, low commodity prices and increasing costs for their failure to make a healthy profit. These are the things most often discussed at producer meetings and in the coffee shop. These are also things we can do little about. Making them the scapegoats for […]

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          Greg Christiansen’s Gross Margin Spreadsheet Helps You Focus on Profit

          By   3 weeks ago

          This week, Greg Christiansen of Grandview Grain and Livestock comes to us from his kitchen/office to share the Gross Margin spreadsheet he developed for his goat/sheep enterprise. While he uses his meat goat herd to demonstrate how he uses it, it works for other livestock as well. What is Gross Margin per Unit and Why […]

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          Sunk-Cost and Status Quo Bias – Getting Over These Hurdles to Success

          By   1 month ago

          In last week’s article on how to prepare for drought, Dallas Mount talked about how our attachment to the animals we currently own can be detrimental to surviving a drought saying, “I won’t deny that having a home raised cow herd has advantages in experience and adaptivity. However, reluctance to liquidate cattle that we love […]

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          Managing Risk and Social Pressure

          By   2 months ago

          This 3 minute video is part of the NRCS-sponsored series Soil Health How-To. In this series, Dr. Buz Kloot, visits farms, orchard and vineyards in the West and Southwest to see how they are implementing soil health principles.During his visit to Idaho, Buz meets with farmers Luke Adams and and Brian Kossman to talk about […]

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          Business Planning Without Killing Your Dreams

          By   2 months ago

          I am not a planner, at least not in the strict sense of the term. I’m more of a “visionary.” I get a picture of something I’d like to do or accomplish, I imagine it fully-formed and beautiful, I think about the first steps for heading in that direction, I describe the benefits to myself […]

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          The Turnaround: A Rancher’s Story

          By   2 months ago

          Dave Pratt has a new book out and it’s one all graziers should read. Packed with principles and processes drawn from the widely acclaimed Ranching For Profit School, The Turnaround: A Rancher’s Story, tells a story familiar to us all about facing the frustrations and overcoming the challenges that all family ranches must overcome if […]

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          Turning a Livestock Operation into a Profitable Business – First Steps

          By   3 months ago

          March 15 is the day that business taxes are due. I don’t know why it’s a month earlier than regular taxes, but ever since I started running On Pasture as though it were a business, I’ve learned a lot about that kind of thing. There’s so much to know, and as Dave Pratt says here, […]

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          What Calving Season is Best for Your Bottom-Line?

          By   3 months ago

          These graziers focus on calving with nature to reduce inputs and make more money. But while May-June is great for them, it doesn’t fit for everyone. I’ve updated this article so we can revisit it together, paying attention to the principles at work. You’re invited to tell us what works for you and why. How […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Fencing Solutions You’ll Like

            By   4 days ago

            From June of 2016, an article that’s always timely. It’s that time of year when you’re putting up fence, taking it down and wondering if there’s a better way. We thought we’d help out with some suggestions. Then, add your own ideas in the comments. Your fellow farmers and ranchers can use all the fencing […]

            Read More →

            Weeds Are NOT the Problem!

            By   2 weeks ago

            In the last few weeks I have attended a couple of field day, farm tour type of affairs. To my knowledge none of them were sponsored by any of the chemical companies directly, but listening to the folks putting on these things you could very easily believe were in the employ of these companies. At […]

            Read More →

            One Grazier’s Experience With Ultra-High Stock Density Grazing

            By   3 weeks ago

            Increasing the density of animals on a piece of pasture changes grazing behavior, and is one tool graziers can use to meet certain vegetation goals. From May of 2016, here’s what Steve Freeman learned when he increased stock density, and what it’s good for and when it might not work as well. Until July of […]

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            Principles for Grass Fed Success

            Here's the pasture as the cows arrive

            By   4 weeks ago

            We first ran this piece in November of 2015. It’s from a farmer with actual experience raising grass fed beef, who is also a very talented New York Times Best Selling author. Read to the end for links to my favorite book. I’ve been raising grass fed-and-finished beef for nearly twenty years, and I direct […]

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            Hasnolocks and the Three Pastures – a Parable About How Graziers Change

            By   1 month ago

            You can lead a farmer to pasture but you can’t make him change. Which of these farmers are you? And do you have a reason to change your mind? (Thanks to Katharine Brainard for illustrating the story.)

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            This Year’s Drought Outlook and What to Do About It

            By   1 month ago

            The US Weather Service has issued its drought prediction for the next 90 days and for some of us the news is not good. In fact, for some of us, the news is even worse than last year when Kathy and I shared this information with you. So here, updated from April of 2020 is […]

            Read More →

            How to Hand Raise Goat Kids

            By   2 months ago

            I first published this story in November of 2017. It’s full of great lessons about caring for young animals and for those faced with hand-raising a lot of baby goats or lambs, the early weaning feed recipe is a life saver. There are a number of reasons you might be raising goat kids by hand. […]

            Read More →

            Ideas for Promoting Grazing as an Ecosystem Service

            By   2 months ago

            In this week’s article about how crop growers and livestock producers can cooperate to benefit each other, I lay out the keys to developing a successful agreement. It reminded me of this article from April of 2013 on the importance of the ecosystem services that grazing can provide, and how we can work together for […]

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              Consider This View All →

              Peecycling for Pasture Health

              By   2 weeks ago

              Diverting urine away from municipal wastewater treatment plants and recycling the nutrient-rich liquid to make crop fertilizer would result in multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale, according to a new University of Michigan-led study. Doing a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impacts of urine recycling compared to conventional fertilizer production may seem like […]

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              Study Shows Grasslands Are More Reliable Carbon Sinks Than Forests

              By   4 weeks ago

              Thanks to Kat Kerlin and the University of California, Davis for this article. Note that the study provides recommendations about carbon markets specific to California, but these recommendations could be extrapolated to other markets as well. A study has found that increased drought and wildfire risk make grasslands and rangelands a more reliable carbon sink […]

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              This Year’s Drought – How Much Will it Cost You?

              By   1 month ago

              Millions of dollars in bad decisions are made every year as ranches manage through dry-times. Not to mention the damage to pasture heath that occurs through delayed decision making. Primarily, hope of moisture to come and emotional attachment to breeding stock, drive the procrastination of necessary decisions. Having a well-developed drought plan is something that […]

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              Why Do We Do Things the Hard Way?

              By   2 months ago

              This weekend I was talking to a friend who has changed her lambing date to coincide with spring grass growth on her Vermont farm. No more worries about how to save hypothermic lambs for her, plus she’s reduced her labor costs and other inputs associated with lambing in colder months. “And you know,” she said, […]

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              Transforming a Sunset is Hard

              By   2 months ago

              Removing the bulk milk tank marks the end of an era at Bishopp Family Farm.

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              Modern Methods Part 2 – Managing Where Livestock Graze

              By   3 months ago

              A few weeks ago we introduced Robert E. Williams and Part 1 of his article in the Journal of Range Management about best grazing management practices. Though “Modern Methods of Getting Uniform Use of Ranges” was written 68 years ago, the principles he includes still hold true today. In fact, much of what he writes […]

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              Free Grazing 101 ebook and online courses coming soon!

              By   3 months ago

              This spring, beginning graziers will have a new, free resource to help them get started on the right foot. The National Grazing Lands Coalition, On Pasture and Yvette Gibson are working together to bring you an ebook and two online courses. Online Course Yvette Gibson is a pioneer in teaching field-based science online, and has […]

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              Baby jumping spiders suckle milk from their moms

              By   4 months 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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