Notes From Kathy View All →

Tips for Training Livestock to Come When Called (and do other helpful things)

By   2 days ago

In last week’s issue, John Marble showed us the numbers that demonstrate calling and leading livestock is more efficient and cost effective than herding. I also wrote about how it works just as well on large landscapes. This week, since On Pasture is all about saving you time and money, John and I are each […]

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Calling and Leading Livestock Over Long Distances – It’s Easy!

By   1 week ago

This week, John Marble is sharing his study comparing the efficiency of leading livestock vs. calling and leading them. Calling and leading came out on top every time. In his “Discussion” section, he mentions that folks working on large landscapes may question if it works in their case. I’m here to say, “Yes, it does!” […]

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On Pasture On Vacation – Here’s What to Read

By   2 weeks ago

As you read this, I’m somewhere camping next to a lake, maybe going for a paddle in my kayak, and definitely enjoying a little R&R. It’s the first time since March of 2020, and I’m pretty happy about it. Since I’m on vacation and haven’t given you anything new to read, it’s a great chance […]

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Why On Pasture Disappeared On Sunday and Next Week’s Schedule

By   3 weeks ago

This past Sunday there was a hiccup in the On Pasture multiverse. The domain auto renewal didn’t auto renew and if you came by to visit us you might have seen this screen. Three phone calls and five hours later, we had some good news. OnPasture.com was renewed and had begun “propagating” through the internet. […]

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Add Sixty Years of Experience to Your Knowledge Base

By   4 weeks ago

This week we’re celebrating Don Ashford’s birthday. We’re not going to say how old he is because you’d never guess it by looking at him. Let’s just say he’s old enough to have six decades of farming experience behind him. To celebrate, we’ve put together a present for all of you: a Special Collection of […]

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Setting up a Paddock/Pasture System That’s Just Right For You

By   1 month ago

This week in The Thinking Grazier, we take a look at one of the most commonly asked questions: “How should I set up my paddock/pasture system?” Because everyone’s operation, landscape, needs, and goals are different, we can’t tell you, “This is what it should look like.” But we can give you some principles to think […]

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Adaptive, Multi-Paddock Grazing May Not Be Better Than Continuous Grazing

By   1 month ago

More food for thought for the Thinking Grazier “Adaptive, multipaddock rotational grazing management did not enhance vegetation productivity or the density of perennial C3 [cool season] grasses, but it did markedly reduce livestock performance.” That was the conclusion of a 2020 paper, “Adaptive, multipaddock rotational grazing management: A ranch-scale assessment of effects on vegetation and […]

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How to Age Gracefully – Advice From our Older Selves to Our Younger Selves

By   2 months ago

When Jonathan Goldstein was leaving his CBC radio show after 11 years, he wanted to leave listeners with something helpful. So he put together this video going away gift. “How to Age Gracefully” isn’t so much about living with wrinkles, changing metabolism, and creaky joints. Rather, it’s advice that our older selves would have loved […]

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    The Thinking Grazier View All →

    Leading Instead of Herding – Why and How to Teach Your Livestock to Follow

    By   2 days ago

    Last month in The Thinking Grazier, John Marble got us thinking about our relationship with our animals and how behavior (theirs and ours), along with our fence and infrastructure, factors into getting them to do what we want them to do. Then last week, he concluded that leading was more efficient and cost effective than […]

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    Paddock Design and Stockmanship – Thinking It Through

    By   1 month ago

    Editor’s Note: John Marble runs a seasonal grazing operation. That means he doesn’t over-winter cattle, and,each spring, he’s working with a new batch of cows, calves, and custom grazed steers. Because these animals are unfamiliar with managed grazing, he’s developed techniques that make it easy to work with and move them. This month, we’re taking […]

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    Adapting to a Changing Climate

    By   2 months ago

    Editor’s Note: I just got back from 5 days in the largest 2C hot spot in the Lower 48. Grand Junction, Colorado is in the middle of a 30,000 square mile region that has warmed as much as 3.5° C (5° F) above pre-industrial levels. The result, in addition to hotter summers and warmer winters, […]

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      Grazier's Focus of the Month View All →

      How to Work With Neighbors to Graze Their Cover Crops and Crop Residue

      By   3 weeks ago

      One of the ways that graziers can extend their season is by working with neighboring crop farmers to graze their cover crops and crop residue. So in this month’s Grazier’s Focus, we’re giving you some tools to help with the challenge of actually speaking to your neighbors and working out an agreement that’s beneficial to […]

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      Stockpiling to Extend the Grazing Season

      By   2 months ago

      Stockpiling is a practice graziers use to reduce winter feed costs and increase profitability. It’s nothing more than setting aside some of your pastures so that livestock will have something to graze into the fall and winter. But while that sounds simple enough, it requires some forethought and planning, an understanding of your environment and […]

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      Pinkeye and Fly Management Made Easier

      By   3 months ago

      This is our first offering in this new category where we focus on helpful, timely information. Learn more about this and more about what’s new at On Pasture here. It’s July, and as usual, the most popular searches at On Pasture are about how to treat Pinkeye. Why? This is when fly populations seem to […]

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        Grazing Management View All →

        Protecting Pastures From Armyworms and Some Reminders for Your Fall “To Do” List

        By   1 week ago

        It has been another odd year with the weather. Some areas that were extremely dry early in the year are now enjoying abundant forages and rapid regrowth. Some areas that were wetter than normal during that same period are now on the dry side. No matter where you are located, you should always be prepared […]

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        Prepping for Winter With a Better Way to Feed

        By   4 weeks ago

        While the grasshopper is enjoying the summer, the ant is always getting ready for the winter. Typically graziers and all producers are the ants, working away to make sure livestock and their communities will have food for the whole year. Still, there’s no reason that the life of an ant can’t be made a little easier and more profitable. This video describes how stockpiling and then strip grazing through the winter can save you time and money while improving your pastures.

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        Time to Start Prepping Your Pastures for Fall

        By   1 month ago

        My dear Mother always said that the older you get, the faster time goes, she was right. I really don’t know what happened to the summer. But here it is, August already. This is the prep month for the beginnings of fall activities starting with the seeding of permanent vegetation, early planting of annuals for […]

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        Good Grazing and Soil Health Protection When There’s Too Much Rain

        By   2 months ago

        It was just a few weeks back that many of us were concerned about how dry it was getting…and then suddenly some of these same places have way to much moisture. Excess water has turned the focus more on trying to maintain forage quality and a rarity for this time of year, “pugging.” Saturated soils […]

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        Which Kind of Grazing is Right for You?

        By   2 months ago

        There are so many different names for different kinds of grazing management that sometimes it gets a little confusing. So, to help you pick what’s right for you, here are some names and definitions. Each of these styles of grazing could fall under “Management-intensive Grazing” meaning that management of the animals is the focus, with […]

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        A Tip for Monitoring Livestock Water Tanks

        By   3 months ago

        A simple DIY project from items everyone has at home!

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        How to Manage for What’s Happening in Pastures Now

        By   3 months ago

        This is great info for those folks on irrigated pasture or those in areas of decent precipitation. For those of you working in the arid west and parts of Texas, see if this gives you ideas for how to manage your drier forages.

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        UH-OH! I’m running out of grass! What should I do?

        By   3 months ago

        First off, let’s not panic.  You have options for stretching your forage supply.  One or a combination of the options below could improve forage utilization and your production. While these suggestions are best for folks in my neck of the woods (Tennessee) by contacting your local NRCS or Conservation District, or your extension agent, you’ll […]

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          Pasture Health View All →

          Nitrate and Prussic Acid Poisoning – It’s That Time of Year Again

          By   1 week ago

          Here is our annual reminder that drought and potential weather changes can 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 Pasture articles to […]

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          Living Crop Mulch Feeds Livestock and Improves Soil Health and the Bottom Line

          By   4 weeks ago

          Thanks to Scott Elliott, ARS Office of Communications for this article. Who doesn’t like a two-for-one deal, or a double-double, win-win? A team of USDA scientists in the upper Midwest is working on a double-cropping system that is showing promise as a way to improve a farmer’s profit margin by growing cattle feed between rows […]

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          Providing Good Forage for Calving Season and Year Round Grazing

          By   1 month ago

          It’s always helpful to hear from fellow graziers about why they do what they do, especially when it comes to discussions of why and how changes they’ve made have improved their profitability and reduced their stress. That’s what you’ll find in this 6:46 video. It’s part of a series from the South Dakota Grassland Coalition […]

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          Aspirin Takes the Headache Out of Establishing Sustainable Pastures

          By   2 months ago

          It seems like there is a lot of good research results becoming available right now. In June, we learned how plants develop “memories” to adapt and survive heat stress. This week we find out that native grasses may benefit from a headache cure! Researchers at Curtin University in Perth, Australia have shown how a readily […]

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          Alfalfa: A Winner for Producers and the Environment

          By   2 months ago

          Here’s some good news about how alfalfa can feed our livestock and our soils. Thanks to Scott Elliott, ARS Office of Communications, for this story. Alfalfa has a long history as the go-to feed for farm animals and poultry. Aquaculture has also discovered the power of alfalfa by refining it into a high-protein fish food. […]

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          Feed Alternatives When Drought Puts a Halt to Forage Production

          By   3 months ago

          This week’s report on forage and drought conditions in North Dakota provides some good information for everyone suffering from drought conditions, and that includes a large swath of the United States this year. Nearly 10% of the contiguous U.S. is now in “exceptional drought,” the highest for that designation since 2011. Soil moisture conditions continue […]

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          Using Wood Ash to Improve Pasture Soils and Forages

          By   3 months ago

          Graziers in many parts of the country often deal with acidic soils that are low in several nutrients. In many parts of the United States and Canada, farmers could improve their pastures by occasionally applying wood ash. Wood ash is a byproduct of several industries that burn wood for energy to make electricity, steam, or […]

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          How Plants Can Beat the Heat: Their Memory Mechanism for Adapting to Heat Stress

          By   3 months ago

          “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” But what if you’re a plant and that’s just not possible? It turns out they have other options. Researchers from Japan have discovered that plants can gain heat tolerance to better adapt to future heat stress, thanks to a particular mechanism for heat stress […]

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            Livestock View All →

            Calling and Leading Cattle is More Time and Cost Efficient Than Herding

            By   1 week ago

            To start, I’d like to thank my neighbors Ken and Debbie for inspiring this study. Ken and Debbie raise “stock dogs.” This provides me with endless hours of entertainment during the pleasant evenings of spring and summer as I listen to the strange commands, whistles, and threats that float across the pasture. They sound like […]

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            Targeted Cattle Grazing Quickly Contains Wildfires

            By   4 weeks ago

            Back in 1997 when I first began my research project on the logistics of using goats to create firebreaks to protect homes in wildland areas, I dreamed that one day, livestock would become an important part of our firefighting toolbox. As I continued my work, my dream expanded beyond goats to what seemed a bigger, […]

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            Cattle Are Losing Adaptations to Their Specific Environments

            By   1 month ago

            Researchers have uncovered evidence showing that cattle are losing important environmental adaptations, losses the researchers attribute to a lack of genetic information available to farmers. After examining genetic material stretching back to the 1960s, they identified specific DNA variations associated with adaptations that could one day be used to create DNA tests for cattle — […]

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            Stress Spreads: What’s Pee Got To Do With It?

            By   2 months ago

            You may have noticed that when a few animals get stressed, others do too, or that a normally calm group of animals just isn’t the same when you add a Nervous Nelly. Here’s what could be going on.

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            Alternative to Antibiotic Created to Combat a Major Poultry Disease

            By   2 months ago

            Thanks to Autumn Canaday of the Agricultural Research Service for this article. Researchers at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and US Biologic, Inc., have developed an oral solution to an antibiotic alternative that fights against poultry coccidiosis, a disease that costs the poultry industry $3.5B in annual losses worldwide. Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease that […]

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            Test Your Knowledge of Management Practices That Affect Dewormer Resistance

            By   2 months ago

            Thanks to Michelle Arnold for this excellent article! There are many important diseases in sheep and goats but none are as common or threaten the herd health as much as internal parasites (worms). Although there are many types of worms that may contribute to a parasite problem, the blood-sucking barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is […]

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            New Vaccine Cocktail Protects Cattle from Johne’s Disease

            By   3 months ago

            A few months ago, I shared a two-part series on Johne’s disease. I talked about the disease itself, and my personal story of losing most of my research goat herd to it back in the early 2000s. It’s a devastating disease, and so this news, that scientists are closing in on a vaccine to prevent […]

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            Flerds: Sheep and Cattle Grazing Together for Predator Protection and Pasture Management

            By   3 months ago

            Multi-species grazing isn’t just about diversifying your operation and making good use of your pastures. It can also be a way to protect small ruminants from predation!

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              Money Matters View All →

              Selling Cattle in September Increases Profit Potential

              By   1 week ago

              Researchers discovered that sending cattle to feedlots earlier than the traditional timing of October may provide a two- fold benefit.

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              How to Write a Letter/Resume When You Want to Lease Land

              By   4 weeks ago

              If you want to start or expand your farming operation, making contact with a landowner is one of the first steps. Here are some tips about making that all important good first impression.

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              Infrastructure Costs on Different Ranches – Wide Open Spaces and Little Bitty Places

              By   1 month ago

              As a young man growing up in the narrow green valleys of western Oregon, I was routinely given the following advice: “If you want to be a rancher, you better move east, because that’s where all the real ranches are.” The “east” all those folks were speaking of is the huge sea of sagebrush that […]

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              How One Grazier Builds Cattle Business on Leased Land

              By   2 months ago

              How do you start a second career as a farmer/grazier? For John Shubeck, former Marine Corps Captain, it included not just coming home to work with his Dad, but going to school and learning about new techniques like No-till farming and rotational grazing. In this 6:20 video we visit John at his South Dakota farm […]

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              Should You Diversify? Or Is There Beauty in Simplicity?

              By   2 months ago

              We tend to over complicate things. A simple business that does a few things well and at scale, is a thing of beauty! It is easy to get caught in the trap of doing lots of small things. After all, if someone is making money on the calves I sell, maybe I should background them […]

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              You Can Be Paid for Protecting Your Grasslands, Rangelands and Pastures

              By   3 months ago

                USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications for Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands from July 12 to August 20, 2021. The program is an effort to help landowners and operators protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland, while while still using them for grazing. Participants receive annual payments of not more than 75% of the […]

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              Success Means Working ON the Business, Not IN the Business

              By   4 months 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   4 months 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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                Consider This View All →

                Rising CO2 Levels Threaten Dung Beetles

                By   2 days ago

                Extreme weather conditions, as seen in recent flood, drought and fire events worldwide, are some of the most obvious ways in which rising atmospheric CO2 levels are changing our world. But there are some serious effects that CO2 is having on our ecosystems that are less easily observed. A new study led by Wits University […]

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                Let Go of the Goat and No One Gets Hurt – Being Safe Around Livestock

                By   1 week ago

                Our livestock could be one of the biggest dangers we face. Here’s how to be safe. And – Yes, you ALL need to read this!

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                Is There Science Behind That Supplement You’re Taking?

                By   4 weeks ago

                This is more “grazier-related” than grazing-related. Here’s to your health! Does coffee cure heat disease? How about coconut oil for ending obesity? And green tea – is that really a cancer preventative? Last, but not least, are my Facebook friends a good source for information about what I should and should not be eating? David […]

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                Wild Pigs’ Climate Impact is Greater Than a Million Cars

                By   1 month ago

                By uprooting carbon trapped in soil, wild pigs are releasing around 4.9 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually across the globe, the equivalent of 1.1 million cars.   An international team led by researchers from The University of Queensland and The University of Canterbury have used predictive population models, coupled with advanced mapping techniques […]

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                Poutine – Anything but Routine

                By   2 months ago

                If you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person, you’ll love this salad!

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                Test Your Knowledge of Management Practices That Affect Dewormer Resistance

                By   2 months ago

                Thanks to Michelle Arnold for this excellent article! There are many important diseases in sheep and goats but none are as common or threaten the herd health as much as internal parasites (worms). Although there are many types of worms that may contribute to a parasite problem, the blood-sucking barber pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is […]

                Read More →

                Grazing Salt Marshes Improves Resistance to Erosion and Sea Level Rise

                By   3 months ago

                More and more places around the world are facing the challenge of flood risk due to sea-level rise, land subsidence and frequent storm surges. Some are approaching this problem by developing dikes or storm barriers. But construction of these hard engineering solutions can also destroy coastal ecosystems and the services they provide. For example, in […]

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                Black Vultures Preying on Livestock is a Growing Problem

                By   3 months ago

                Black Vulture populations are increasing and, with warmer winters, their range is expanding too. Once only found in the southeast United States, the birds are now being seen as far north as Indiana. The problem is, unlike their cousin the Turkey Vulture, which only feeds on carrion, black vultures are aggressive enough to take live […]

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