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The Scoop View All →

Lessons From the Past to Create a Better Future

By   1 day ago

Lately, I’ve been thinking about when I first started working with ranchers. It was the era of “NO MORE MOO IN ’92” and “CATTLE FREE BY ’93.” Activists tried to purchase rights to public land allotments and move cattle off. Books like  “Welfare Ranching” and “Sacred Cows at the Public Trough” painted ranchers in an […]

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Don’t Freak Out About the IPCC Report

By   1 week ago

Let’s start with this: The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that was released on August 8 does not say we should quit eating meat and become vegetarians. Here’s what it does say: “Balanced diets, featuring plant-based foods, such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-sourced […]

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Saving the Ant Farmers

By   2 weeks ago

Not long after we moved to Tucson, my next-door neighbor told me about one of the scourges of our desert gardens: Leaf cutter ants! As their name suggests, they specialize in cutting leaves from plants. Sometimes they can defoliate an entire bush or tree. So when I found some of them living in our gravel […]

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Free, Downloadable Handouts to Share At Grazing Events

By   3 weeks ago

Let your eyes wander up to the On Pasture menu bar. See “Handouts”? Click, and you’ll find six free handouts that you can share with participants at your next grazing event. I put these together to make it easy to share information on some of the most read and asked for articles. And while they’re […]

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Steers That Eat Rabbits

By   4 weeks ago

Here’s a little-known fact: On Pasture exists because of this picture:   If I’d never met Fred Provenza, and if he’d never invited me to audit his “Plant Herbivore Interaction” course at Utah State University, you would not be enjoying the 2,300 articles in On Pasture’s library. Yes, this is a steer eating a rabbit. […]

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Kathy Goes to Washington

By   1 month ago

I went to Washington D.C. the last week of June to talk to our Natural Resources Conservation Services partners about On Pasture and its future. We had a great meeting, where I got to meet the new Chief, Matt Lohr. He is a fellow farmer from Virginia and so he knows a lot about the […]

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On Pasture Articles in Books Designed Just For You

By   1 month ago

With this week’s issue, there are 2,363 articles in On Pasture’s archives. It’s that archive that has made On Pasture the most read grazing magazine around. Our stats show us the search terms folks use to bring them to On Pasture for answers. One question leads to more and, before you know it ,they’re regular […]

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BYOB Week at On Pasture

By   2 months ago

On Pasture is on break this week. You might want to take a break too. But if not, then it’s BYOB Week, meaning you can “Build Your Own Batch” of articles from the 2,800 that we’ve got in the archives. Here are some hints for finding something great to read: • Search by category by […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    The Grass Whisperer’s $20 Stock Watering Solution

    By   1 day ago

    Troy Bishopp and John Suscovich of Farm Marketing Solutions get together now and then to share tips for how farmers and ranchers can be good graziers. In this 3:34 video, they talk about how Troy set up his system to water his cattle without letting them walk through his streams. With a $5 piece of […]

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    Comparing Rotational and Continuous Grazing – A Time Lapse Video

    By   1 week ago

    Seeing how two pastures function side by side under different management is one good way to consider what kind of management we’d like to implement. That’s why I like this video from the Natural Resources Conservation Service staff in Clark, South Dakota. They set up a camera on a fence line and took time lapse […]

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    We’re Stockpiling Now for Winter Grazing at Green Pastures Farm

    By   2 weeks ago

    We have 70 days left until our average killing frost date. That means we’re starting to stockpile now to extend our grazing season, allowing pastures to grow so we won’t have to feed hay this winter. For most folks winter feeding is their largest expense and can be the difference between making a profit or […]

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    The Inventory Walk

    By   3 weeks ago

    Woody Lane from Lane Livestock Services in Oregon spoke to me in his article, “Let’s Take a Walk,” when he wrote, “The pasture is trying to tell you something; are you listening?” When I participate in a public pasture walk, it’s generally a lighthearted affair that looks at a few specifics of grazing management or […]

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    Facing Short Hay Inventory? Here’s What You Can Do

    By   4 weeks ago

    Flooding in many parts of the country may mean less hay for the winter. Drought is a problem in other places. No matter the reason, here are some tips for making it through the winter.

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    A Step by Step Approach to Building Pasture Productivity and Soil Health

    By   1 month ago

    If you’re working on change, I think you’re going to love this interview of Ronnie Nuckols of Crozier, VA. He talks about how he started with small steps, building on each one, and the progress he saw at each step inspired him to keep going. He started with what may be the hardest step: changing […]

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    Mob Grazing in South Dakota Ten Months of the Year

    By   1 month ago

    Charlie and Tanya Totten rent 4,000 acres of flat, fertile pasture land and rocky river breaks near Chamberlain, South Dakota. In this video he talks about how he manages his cattle and his land to improve productivity and natural resources. Charlie says, “I’m not doing it for my grand kids. I’m doing it for me […]

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    Best of OP – Managing Multi-Species Grazing

    By   2 months ago

    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 and the pastures that support them in a forage-based environment is more akin to a complex symphony with you, the farmer, as the conductor.  Regardless of the players (aka: species), there […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      How Short and How Often Should You Graze Your Grass?

      By   1 day ago

      This comes to us from the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. While their purpose was to provide information for dairy graziers, it’s a great lesson for us all on how grass grows and how we can manage it for best yield and animal productivity. While there are many grazing […]

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      Discovery Helps Plants Make a Connection With Soil Fungi

      By   1 week ago

      Ten years of work result in the discovery of the gene that allows plants and mycorrhizal fungi to interact and could lead to plants that require less fertilizer and can survive and thrive in arid environments.

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      How Does Fire Affect Soil Microbes?

      By   2 weeks ago

      This article comes to us from Steven Shafer, Ph.D., the former Soil Health Institute interim chief scientific officer and retired soil microbiologist the Noble Research Institute. Fire affects many important ecosystem processes. Much of what we understand about the impact of fire on terrestrial ecosystems comes from many decades of research on the effects of […]

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      Does Grazing Crop Residue Compact Soils?

      By   3 weeks ago

      This article comes to us from Will Cushman and the Soil Science Society of America. It goes well with last week’s article of tips on what to do about hay/forage shortage this year and a recommendation to talk to neighbors about grazing crop residue. We hope it helps! It makes sense that a 1,200 pound […]

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      New Forage Available

      By   4 weeks ago

      A few weeks ago we shared the results of a study that provided some insights into the value of legumes as forage. The study looked at how well three vetches and one winter pea responded to grazing. One of those, WinterKing Hairy Vetch is now available for sale. Here’s more information for you. There’s an […]

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      I’ve Got This Weed Growing in My Pasture. What Does It Say About My Soil?

      By   1 month 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 15 years teaching cattle, sheep, goats and bison to eat them under all kinds of soil conditions in and all kinds of landscapes. My observation is that spotted knapweed does […]

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      The Thrill of Soil Sampling!

      By   1 month ago

      From what I’ve read in Facebook groups and heard from folks, soil sampling isn’t something anyone wants to do. But, the results from a well-executed soil sample, can tell you what your soil is lacking and give you some ideas for how to manage to improve the situation. It can also tell you if your […]

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      Best of OP – Great “Grass Farmers” Grow Roots

      By   2 months ago

      If you go to enough workshops about grazing, you’re bound to see an illustration that shows how biting off the tops of plants impacts their roots, and how if you graze short enough, the plant won’t have enough roots to rebound and produce more leafy material. In fact, if you’ve been with us at On Pasture for […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Low-Stress Weaning

        By   1 day ago

        A lot of producers look forward to weaning with nothing but dread because it’s so often a bad experience for them, their cows, and sometimes their facilities. Many producers can tell stories about their corrals being torn down by the cows post-weaning, and not being able to sleep for three or four nights after weaning […]

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        Rangeland Researchers Say Smaller is Better

        By   1 week ago

        This article comes to us from Oregon State University Extension and Chris Branam. Ranchers running beef cattle on dry and dusty landscapes should consider smaller cows to get the best out of their herd.   That’s the recommendation of a recent interdisciplinary study involving rangeland researchers in Oregon, Wyoming and Oklahoma. Breeding smaller cattle could […]

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        How Important is a Perfect Udder on a Beef Cow?

        By   2 weeks ago

        This article is a summary of the 2019 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report “The Effect of Cow Udder Score on Subsequent Calf Performance in the Nebraska Sandhills”. Joslyn K. Beard, Jacki A. Musgrave, Rick N. Funston and J. Travis Mulliniks were collaborators on this research study and report. Listen to a discussion of the content in […]

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        Gathering Cattle – These Techniques Make It Much Easier

        By   3 weeks ago

        Thanks to Dawn Hnatow for co-authoring this piece! A lot of ranchers have trouble gathering their cattle; that is, it takes a lot of riders multiple days and they still end up short. If done properly, however, one or two people can gather even large pastures in one day and miss none. Conventional gathering In […]

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        How Do Animals Choose What to Eat? Part 1 – Mother Knows Best

        By   4 weeks ago

        Learning about how animals choose what to eat and where to live, and that it doesn’t work the way we thought it did, has completely changed my life. In fact, it’s why you’re reading On Pasture today. I think it can change your life too. So, over the coming months, I’ll be sharing a short […]

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        DIY Mineral Feeder

        By   1 month ago

        Hello to John, one of our readers in Victoria, Australia! He asked for an article on a mineral feeder design that would be accessible to sheep and would keep his mineral blocks off the ground. This DIY mineral feeder designed by Matt Poore (of Amazing Grazing fame) could be just the thing. It’s designed for […]

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        Placing Cattle – The Art of Getting Cattle to Stay Put Without an Extra Fence

        By   1 month ago

        Thanks to Dawn Hnatow for co-authoring this article! Imagine how expedient it would be if we could drive our cattle to a particular place in a pasture—say an area that they normally don’t graze—and have them stay there without the use of additional fence, at least until they ran out of feed or needed to […]

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        Best of OP – The Importance of Tail Docking Lambs

        By   2 months ago

        Ever had a rotten tooth pulled? I have, and it smarts a bit. But would I rather that tooth was still there, or that it abscessed and dumped toxins into my bloodstream? Not really. And that’s essentially the case in favor of docking most lambs’ tails shortly after birth. “But Bill!” you protest. “A lamb’s […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          If You Want Healthy Wildlife, You Need Healthy Ranches

          By   1 day ago

          This article is drawn from a release originally written by Jenny Seifert of University of California, Santa Barabara. Researchers at the University of California – Santa Barbara revealed a clear link between the economic health of ranches and maintaining habitat for the greater sage grouse, a bird that has been the focus of public land […]

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          Check Out the Farm Loan Discovery Tool

          By   2 weeks ago

          There’s a new online tool to help you find information on U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans. It’s called the “Farm Loan Discovery Tool” and comes to us from Farmers.gov, and it makes it easier to figure out what kind of loan to consider, and tells you where your the nearest service center is to […]

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          Questioning Our Grass Fed Success

          By   4 weeks ago

          Back in May, On Pasture author and heretic rancher/philosopher James Mathew Craighead had the gall to ask a bunch of questions, and I mean a whole bunch of questions, including some that appeared to cast doubt on the entire Holy Grail of grazing and grass and soils and meat and…well, heck, just EVERYTHING!!! Turns out, […]

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          A First Step in Reducing Inputs to Increase Profitability

          By   1 month ago

          We talk a lot about reducing inputs so that the farm or ranch can be more profitable. But how do you figure out what you should cut and what you should keep? Do you have a goal that can provide direction? For some ideas on that, here’s a jam-packed 2:13 interview with the Noble Research […]

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          This New Podcast Will Get Your Business Going

          By   2 months ago

          Charlotte Smith heard some disturbing USDA statistics a few years ago: “Three hundred farmers go out of business every week in the United States. Eighty percent are are out of business by year two, and only 2% of farmers are still around at year five.” That’s something Charlotte is determined to change, so, with her […]

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          Making Dreams Come True

          By   2 months ago

          There is a line in one of Bruce Springsteen’s songs, “is a dream a lie if it don’t come true?” We all have our dreams but the ones that become reality and were not a lie are the ones that we really worked on to make come true. My Daddy used to tell me and […]

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          Are You Running a Marginal Business?

          By   3 months ago

          What starts out as a bar conversation becomes a lesson in what to do if you want to make more money farming or ranching.

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          Partnerships Demonstrate That Profitable Ranching and Healthy Ecosystems Go Hand in Hand

          By   3 months ago

          Thanks to my co-author on this piece, Pete Bauman. He sent me the video and shared the key takeaways that makes the video so helpful. Pete is a Range Field Specialist for South Dakota State University Extension. His specialty is helping producers combine profitability and ecological balance. Bill Sproul loves prairies and all that open […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Time to Watch Out for Nitrate and Prussic Acid Poisoning

            By   1 day ago

            From August of 2018, it’s our annual reminder that drought and potential weather changes could cause increases of nitrates and prussic acid in some forages. This article from Jill Scheidt, University of Missouri Extension, tells us what to look out for. I’ve added some charts and testing information as well as links to addtional On […]

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            The Economics of Creep Feeding – Does it Pay?

            By   1 week ago

            This article originally appeared in May of 2018. It is drawn from information provided by the University of Nebraska Lincoln Beef, Randy Saner, Nebraska Extension Educator – Beef Systems, and Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist – Range Production Systems. Thanks for your great work! Creep feeding is a practice of providing feed so that […]

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            Reduce Your Feed Costs This Winter With These Tips for Extending Your Grazing Season

            By   2 weeks ago

            From our archive of articles – this August 2016 article is quite timely now. Winter feeding accounts for 40+% of the cost of producing a calf, so reducing or eliminating this bad habit can help keep your ranch in the black. One way to reduce winter feeding costs is to extend the period that cattle […]

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            Time to Start Stockpiling for Fall and Winter Grazing

            By   3 weeks ago

            It’s almost August, which is always a busy month for me and I am usually left wondering what happened to the summer. This is when I start thinking about assessing pastures, how much forage is present, and how much more forage can be grown between now and dormancy. It’s sad, but winter is already on […]

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            Ideas For Water Systems That Move With Your Cattle

            By   4 weeks ago

            From our February 2014 edition – here are some ideas that don’t age. Getting water to livestock in pasture can be a challenge and farmers and ranchers have come up with all kinds of systems to get the job done.  Since two (or more) heads are better than one, we thought we’d share some solutions […]

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            How to Graze Trampled Grass

            By   1 month ago

            For some On Pasture readers, there was way too much rain early in the grazing season and the grass got way ahead, causing more trampling issues. If you’re wondering how to graze it now, Bruce has some ideas for you. (From an August 2018 issue.) How should you graze regrowth in pastures that had tall […]

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            How One Farm Family is Improving Soil Health

            By   1 month ago

            From our July 2018 archives, here are some ideas about adapting practices to fit different operations, and the importance of working with others. Today I have two videos for you from JP and Holly Heber who raise row crops and cattle in east-central South Dakota. They’re talking about their no-till and cover crops and how […]

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            Best of OP – How to Be A Successful Farmer/Rancher in the 21st Century

            By   2 months ago

            Forrest has been thinking about this for a long time. We first published this in October of 2014. Read on for how he’s gone deeper with a new book on the topic. As Bren Smith recently explained in his heartfelt editorial for the New York Times (Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be […]

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              Consider This View All →

              Working On Healthy Soils and Productive Agriculture in Ethiopia

              By   1 week ago

              In early June I got an email from Dr. Ray Weil. You may know Ray as the author of The Nature and Properties of Soils, the go-to textbook for everything on soils, and a contributor to On Pasture. He was asking for input on electric fencing for a project he is starting in Ethiopia to […]

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              Lone Star Ticks and the Red Meat Allergy

              By   3 weeks ago

              This article comes to us from Canada’s Beef Cattle Research Council and Shaun Dergousoff, PhD, a research scientist at AAFC Lethbridge focused on tick populations and arthropod vectors of livestock disease. I’ve added a map of where the lone star tick is found, some info on other ticks that may cause the allergy, and a […]

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              Livestock Genetic Diversity is Being Preserved Thanks to an ARS Collection

              By   1 month ago

              This is an edited version of an article by Dennis O’Brien of the Agriculture Research Service. When the sample of semen from the Duroc boar—a breed of domestic pig—arrived in Fort Collins, Colorado this spring, the scientists and staff at the Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Germplasm Collection had a little celebration. Why? Because it […]

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              Best of OP – More Ways to Keep Flies Off Your Livestock

              By   2 months ago

              There’s more than one way to skin a cat or catch a fly. On Pasture reader Fred Forsburg was inspired to share his method of keeping flies off his cattle by the article several weeks ago on Loran Shallenberger’s Farm Hack Fly Trap. We thought you’d like to see what works for Fred. We love […]

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              Sheep Cross Hanging Bridges

              By   2 months ago

              Farmers and ranchers everywhere face challenges when it comes to moving their stock, especially when it comes to crossing water. Shepherds have solved water crossing problems by building hanging bridges. Here’s what that looks like for shepherds in Nepal. These Himalayan sheep are crossing a hanging bridge in Ghumliband, Rukum Nepal. A total of 687 […]

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              Not “No” but “Hell No”

              A policy that destroys farmer and farmland cannot be accepted in agricultural terms. It also directly contradicts our goal of national defense. A Country that is heedlessly destroying its capactiy to feed itself cannot be defended.

              By   3 months ago

              James Matthew Craighead asked this question: “Is grass fed the worst thing that happened to agriculture?” Don Ashford, one of On Pasture’s Writers in Residence shares these thoughts. No, absolutely no. What is Grassfed? If I understand the labeling requirements correctly, any animal that has eaten grass anytime in its life can be labeled grass […]

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              Tapas: One Bite of Local Opportunity

              By   3 months ago

              My first first response to the idea of a tapas menu or plate was “That’s too small to  satisfy a hungry farmer!”  My meat and potato mentality couldn’t be more wrong. I also realized this delicate, small, Spanish-style savory dish has the potential to be the best marketing opportunity yet because that one bite tells […]

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              Is Grass Fed the Worst Thing That Happened To Agriculture?

              By   3 months ago

              James Matthew Craighead has studied sustainable agriculture for a decade and the result is a lot of questions. Some of these are hard questions and may trigger a little defensiveness in us all. Just remember, he’s sharing them here to open a constructive dialogue that might lead us all to a place where we are better both individually and as a group.

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                The Funnies View All →

                CVS Receipts Gone Wild

                By   1 day ago

                Do you get these kinds of receipts where you shop? This person bought 2 packs of Lifesavers and the receipt was almost as long as his pickup truck bed!

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                It’s Beefsteak Tomato Time of Year

                By   1 week ago

                If you’ve got time on your hands, and you’re patient:   P.S. If you do this, send me pictures! 🙂

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                Celebrate “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch” Day on August 8

                By   2 weeks ago

                  Get out your camo and your excess zucchini and celebrate “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!” That’s what August 8 is. Instead of baking hundreds of loaves of zucchini bread, bag up your excess zucchini, take it to the nearest neighbors’ porch, drop it, ring the doorbell, and RUN! Or, here’s […]

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                I Am Cow. Hear Me Moo!

                By   3 weeks ago

                Here’s my favorite song! Courtesy of the Arrogant Worms out of Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

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                Bear Interrupts Photo Shoot

                By   4 weeks ago

                Fortunately he gets away clean…and then brings his buddies back.   Rabbit-Eating Steers Are One of the Reasons On Pasture Exists The other is a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service that has covered more than half of the cost of bringing On Pasture to you. Without it, On Pasture would not […]

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                Terrifying a Cab Driver

                By   1 month ago

                Plenty of cab drivers have terrified me, so it seems like turn about is fair play. Here’s a little story a friend told me….. My husband and I were dressed and ready to go out for a lovely evening of dinner and a movie. Having been robbed in the past, we turned on a night […]

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                Multi-Use Car Air Freshener

                By   1 month ago

                And if you get stuck somewhere with no food, you can eat it!

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                If Your Music Doesn’t Have Cannons, You’re Doing It Wrong!

                By   2 months ago

                Here’s an excerpt from the performance of the 1812 Overture played by the Boston Pops on July 4, 2016 accompanied by the 101st Field Artillery. The fellow in the white jacket is the conductor for the artillery. And he’s reading the actual score that Tchaikovsky wrote that included the timing for the cannons. And here’s […]

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