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Livestock Foraging Behavior: It may not be what you think!

By   /  June 23, 2014  /  1 Comment

Understanding how animals choose what to eat, based on learning and how their bodies work, will help you see why your animals are eating what they’re eating and give you a leg up on figuring out how to help them do more for you.

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A number of years ago, I was speaking at a grazing conference to a group of dairy farmers about how
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About the author

Darrell began his career in grassland research and management in 1980 by walking across a plowed field in the rain to ask the farm manager of Cornell University’s Mount Pleasant Research Farm for a job. Although the farm manager had no funds that particular year for hiring summer help, Darrell was informed that there was a new pasture research project getting underway at Cornell’s Teaching and Research Center in Harford, NY, and they could likely use some help from a person willing to walk across a plowed field in the rain to ask for a job. Little did Darrell know that plodding through mud and rain would lead to 34 years of researching, promoting, and helping farmers implement grazing-based livestock production systems. Along the way, Darrell earned a Master’s degree in Resource Management and Ecology, a PhD in Range Science with a concentration in the foraging behavior and diet selection of herbivores, served as the pasture research manager at the Cornell University Hillside Pasture Research and Demonstration project, and after 26 years as the state grazing land management specialist with the USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service in New York State, has retired. While Darrell can still be found walking across plowed fields in the spring rain, with a turkey call in his jacket pocket and a 12 gauge shot gun cradled in the crook of his arm, which, by the way, was exactly what he was doing those 34 years ago when a job got in the way, he does prefer to talk grass and fish.

1 Comment

  1. Chip Hines says:

    Very well explained, Darrell. I have been asked may times where would be a good place to buy a ranch (I’m in Eastern Colorado) and I reply with, “look for a ranch/farm with the greatest diversity of forage.” Cattle produce well and costs will go down.

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