Tuesday, May 28, 2024
HomeGrazing ManagementRancher Doubles Forage Production by Grazing Half and Resting Half

Rancher Doubles Forage Production by Grazing Half and Resting Half

Charlie and his wife Tanya own and operate Totten Angus Ranch in Chamberlain, South Dakota. They’re mob grazing at their ranch to make more money. “We’re adding more organic matter in the soil and increasing the grass population,” Charlie Totten says. In this video he describes working on his 700 acres, mobbing half of it one year and the other half the next year.

The biggest impact he’s found is that he’s doubled his production. That’s based on the first year of working with the NRCS to measure how much grass he started with and then map what was where and where the cows should graze. Charlie says “It’s coming out pretty close to what we measured after we inspected, but we were surprised we got through last year (during a drought). So it looks to me any kind of plan is going to help you in drought.”

They flash graze during May, moving the cattle through pastures quickly to take advantage of rapid spring growth. Charlie says that’s a little scary because you don’t know how much rain you’ll get and overgrazing could mean that without rain, there’s not as much regrowth.  They don’t use all the grass, setting themselves up for regrowth, and then use the pasture to cross-fence wean their calves in October.

As part of this 6 minute visit to summer in South Dakota, you’ll also see how Charlie and his wife manage their fencing and how their cows react to all the good grass around them. Enjoy!

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Vothhttps://onpasture.com
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.


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