The Scoop View All →

Putting Your Grazing Jigsaw Puzzle Together

By   4 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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More Videos! Fewer Videos! What’s YOUR Opinion?

By   4 weeks ago

In an effort to serve you better, and to make On Pasture a more manageable workload for me, I’ve been running a short survey to find out what you want. It takes about 3 minutes to answer 8 questions. I’ve been looking through the responses and, as often happens, I see conflicting requests. For example, […]

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Повторение – мать учения “Repetition is the mother of learning.”

By   1 month ago

If you’ve ever wondered why you see the same ad over and over, it’s because of this little rhyme my high school Russian teacher taught us. “Puff-da-rain-ya mahts oo-chen-ya” or “Repetition is the mother of learning.” When something is repeated enough, we absorb the lesson. That’s one of the reasons for this week’s collections of […]

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Help Us Improve On Pasture

By   1 month ago

We want to make On Pasture even more useful to you and we need your input! When On Pasture began almost eight years ago we made this one-minute video to explain our purpose in life. We made three promises to you: When On Pasture began almost eight years ago, we made this one-minute video to […]

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The Gift of Good Grazing

By   2 months ago

Do you remember the kid in class who always had her hand in the air when the teacher asked a question? Yup! That kid was me. I had always done the reading and I was enthusiastic about participating. That enthusiasm has served me well. In fact, it’s the reason my husband and I are celebrating […]

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What is the True Meaning of Grazing?

By   2 months ago

Management Consultant, Peter Drucker said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” During this past pandemic pasture season, I’ve had some time to ponder the farm’s reflection upon the guy in front of the proverbial mirror. Amongst a sea of seed-heads, in a Zen-like moment, on […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

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

    By   4 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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    Working With Grazing Charts to Manage Grazing and Have Time For the Rest of Your Life

    By   1 month ago

    On Pasture is on winter break for the next two weeks, but we didn’t want to leave you high and dry, so we’re sharing resources that you might find helpful. Back in 2018, I made some free, downloadable handouts that you can copy and share at workshops, conferences and other events. This one covers the […]

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    Keys to Good Grazing From the Slovek Family

    By   1 month ago

    Basic grazing management principles are the same, no matter the scale you’re working at, and Bill Slovek and his family do an excellent job of demonstrating that in this 5:38 video. The Slovek family of Philip, South Dakota run about 900 cow-calf pairs on about 20,000 acres of deeded and leased land. They’ve got 67 […]

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    Jim Gerrish Talks “What Really Matters in Grazing Management”

    By   2 months ago

    In this 15:39 video, Jim Gerrish breaks grazing down to the very basics to help us focus on the principles behind what we do, no matter the environment we live and work. Starting With Four Basic Ingredients We all work with the same four ingredients: • CO2 • Solar energy • Water • Soil minerals […]

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    Fencing so a 12-Year-Old Can Run the Ranch

    By   2 months ago

    If you set up the day to day operations of your ranch so a 12-year-old can run things, your level of enjoyment will be greatly enhanced. You will have more time to think, plan, and recreate. Further, if a 12-year-old can look after the ranch, then so can an 80yr old. Getting to this point […]

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    Conservation Stewardship Program Helps This Grazier Hit His Conservation Goals

    By   2 months ago

    Good grazing provides so many ecosystem services, from healthy soil to clean water to important wildlife habitat. Here’s a program that can cover costs of implementing practices that improve conservation and pay you for your ongoing efforts.

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      Pasture Health View All →

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

      By   4 days 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   2 weeks 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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      Plant Competition for Underground Real Estate Affects Carbon Storage and Food Production

      By   3 weeks ago

      Thanks to Liana Wait, graduate student, Princeton University Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology for this article. You can see it in it’s original form here. You might have observed plants competing for sunlight — the way they stretch upwards and outwards to block each other’s access to the sun’s rays — but out of […]

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      Start Your 2021 Grazing Season With 43% More Forage

      By   1 month ago

      I’ve been teaching cows to eat weeds since 2004. Over the years since I first developed the training method, I’ve trained over 1,000 cattle, some flocks of sheep and goats, and even some of Ted Turner’s bison. The method is simple, takes just 8 hours spread over 10 days, and anyone can do it. Weed-eating […]

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      Interpreting Your Soils Test Report

      By   1 month ago

      Agricultural soil testing can be used for many purposes, but the primary use is to determine whether or not lime and/or fertilizer is needed, and, if so, how much. The first step in soil testing is to collect the sample, but, for this article, let’s assume you have collected your soil sample, sent it to […]

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      Our Soil-Moisture Reservoir

      By   2 months ago

      Here’s another trip into our past to learn from those whose shoulders we stand on.* We talk a lot about soil moisture and the importance of managing pastures so that they can absorb and hold precipitation whenever it comes. With this article from the October 1963 issue of “Soil Conservation,” Cecil Wadleigh, takes us deeper, […]

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      Microbes Can Unlock Soil Phosphorus to Enhance Plant Growth

      By   2 months ago

      Phosphorus is a critical plant nutrient. It stimulates root growth, is part of photosynthesis and transferring nutrients through the plant, and without, maturity is delayed and fruits and seeds are few and poorly formed. The good news is that there is lots of phosphorous in the soil, with concentrations ranging from 200 to 6,000 pounds […]

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      Hungry Plants Order Up Iron From Soil Microbes

      By   2 months ago

      Continuing with our Thanksgiving theme, here’s how plants harvest some nutrition for their own dinner. Thanks to the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research for their work on this article.   In nature, healthy plants are awash with bacteria and other microbes, mostly deriving from the soil they grow in. This community of microbes, […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Baby It’s Cold Outside! Watch Out For Livestock

        By   4 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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        Why Do Your Animals Eat What They Eat and Do What They Do?

        By   1 month ago

        If you entered 2021 with a better understand of why your animals do the things they do, I think you’d be way ahead of the game. So, here’s a four article series by Darrell Emmick. He’ll give you a really strong understanding of what’s going on in your pasture with your plants and animals based […]

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        Ground-Breaking Treatment Prevents Parasites in Sheep

        By   1 month ago

        The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (ARS) has developed a groundbreaking treatment for barber’s pole worm (Haemonchus contortus), the number one health issue in the sheep industry. In live-animal trials, the new treatment reduced fecal egg counts by 90% and overall parasite burdens by 72%. Perhaps most importantly, the treatment impacted female parasites […]

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        How Do You Know If Your Animal Is Sick?

        By   2 months ago

        It’s not always easy to tell if you have a sick animal in your herd. That’s because, as prey animals, they don’t want predators to know that they’re sick, so they’ve become pretty good at masking symptoms. That means that you have to know what normal looks like so you can watch for small differences […]

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        Helping Animals Get the Most From Your Pastures

        By   2 months ago

        In general, the more livestock eat, the more weight they gain or milk they produce. Thus, forage intake is key to animal performance. Agronomists manage for plant density and height to ensure livestock maximize intake. While plant structure is important, intake is not dictated by structure alone. Forage quality, current nutritional state, and experience also […]

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        Black Soldier Fly Larvae – It’s What’s For Dinner

        By   2 months ago

        It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States, a time when, in addition to giving thanks, we think a lot about food. With that in mind we thank Science Daily and the University of Queensland for contributing to this article.   It may seem a little hard to swallow but the larvae of a waste-eating […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Do You Know Who Your Market Is?

          By   4 days 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   3 weeks 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   1 month 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   2 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   2 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   2 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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          Here’s a Tool to Make Farm/Ranch Financial Analysis Easier

          By   3 months ago

          If you’re not a great record keeper, you’re not alone. Most folks I know would rather be outside doing chores than inside filing receipts or going through records to figure out if the latest enterprise is bringing in the expected profit. So, to make it easier, and set you up for success, the Center for […]

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          Is “Tradition” Harming Your Operation?

          By   3 months ago

          Agriculture is steeped in tradition. These traditions serve as a source of pride and continuity which help make us who we are in agriculture. However, these same traditions create a paradox of sorts when it comes to managing the business of ranching. Balancing respect for traditions and fostering innovation can be tricky to navigate. Another […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

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

            By   4 days 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   2 weeks 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   3 weeks 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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            The Beginnings of Soil Conservation and the Regenerative Agriculture Movement

            By   1 month ago

            There’s a saying that “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Usually we think of that in a bad way, as if we didn’t learn the lessons of the past so now we’re repeating the same mistakes. But it can also be about forgetting the discoveries of the past, only to reinvent […]

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            Benefits and Challenges of Winter Grazing

            By   1 month ago

            This story, originally published in January of 2017, comes to us from Civil Eats, a daily news source for critical thought about the American food system. In working on this story, reporter Caroline Abels contacted us at On Pasture to find out more about winter grazing and interviewed two On Pasture authors, Troy Bishopp and […]

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            What is the Nutritional Value of Your Stockpiled Forage?

            By   2 months ago

            From December of 2016, here’s a look at what you might expect if you haven’t taken the steps to have your forage tested. Grazing your herd through the winter on standing forages in pasture is one way to reduce costs and improve your bottom line. It avoids the expense of baling, moving feed and then […]

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            Managing a Grazing Operation to Increase Water, Forage and Habitat

            By   2 months ago

            This is a story of the importance of private lands for providing clean water and wildlife habitat, and how the changes this ranch made enhanced habitat and increased water availability and made their livestock more productive and profitable. Thanks to Robert Hathorne of the NRCS for sharing this story. I’ve added ways to apply the principles this ranch uses to help you translate this to your operation, and information on how to pay for the improvements.

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            A Fall, Post-Drought Pasture Walk at Greg and Jan Judy’s Green Pastures Farm

            By   2 months ago

            This article comes to us from November of 2013 and On Pasture’s first year of publication. After a 6 month drought, you’d think that Greg might be a little down about his winter grazing prospects, and you’d be wrong.  He’s found that managing his animals as one big herd is especially beneficial during drought.  In […]

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              Consider This View All →

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

              By   2 weeks 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   1 month 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   1 month 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   2 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   2 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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              Match.com for Grazing? These Exchanges Match Graziers and Folks Who Need Them

              By   3 months ago

              There are lots of reasons for adding livestock to landscapes. Grazing crop residue and cover crops is a low-cost way to recycle nutrients back into the soil and increase crop production. It’s also an easy way to reduce residue for more successful no-till seeding. Land managers can use livestock to manage weeds, improve water quality, […]

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              Build Your “Room” for Success

              By   3 months ago

              A year ago I listened to an interview with author David Weinberger on CBC radio. The host was asking questions about Weinberger’s book ‘Too Big To Know.’ Weinberger posed the question, “Who is the smartest person in the room?” His answer….the room! In the book, the author talked about how the internet and our access […]

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              Getting Paid For Good Grazing: The Carbon Market of the Future

              By   4 months ago

              Oregon Forage and Grassland Council’s free Zoom series “Lunch With Forages” kicked off last week with a look at a potential new revenue stream for graziers: trading good grazing practices for cash. Debbie Reed, the Executive Director of Ecosystem Services Marketing Consortium, was the featured speaker and she described the carbon market and making it […]

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