July 25, 2022

Heifer Grazing Compass Helps Farmers Make Profitable Grazing and Replacement Decisions

  To graze or not to graze? The newly debuted Heifer Grazing Compass can help Dairy Farmers answer that question. This spreadsheet tool helps farmers predict and understand the cash flow and long-term financial outcomes of deciding to raise heifers on pasture. It can be used to help dairy farmers assess their options for raising […]

June 27, 2022

Cows Eat Leafy Spurge

Contrary to what you’ve been told, leafy spurge does not cause harm to cattle, and with a little training, they can and will eat it. So why not turn that pest into forage? Here Kathy shares what she’s learned about getting cattle to eat leafy spurge over her decade of teaching cows to eat weeds.

February 7, 2022

Want a Fat Calf? Feed for Its Personality

Researchers in Norway had questions: Do personality traits, especially sociability, influence feeding behaviors of dairy calves? And, how do personality traits in combination with different weaning methods affect weight gains? The answers to their questions could help producers choose the best weaning methods for their dairy stock. In a natural setting, cows and nursing calves […]

January 24, 2022

Bedded Pack Buildings: Solving the Winter Mud, Muck and Manure Problem

Where is your herd (or flock) spending this winter? Right about now, with snow, ice, mud and manure building up, you may be wishing you had a different option than the one you’re using. Here’s a solution you can start considering and maybe planning for next year!

June 21, 2021

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

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!

June 7, 2021

Shade Options for Grazing Cattle – Natural, Permanent and DIY Portable

It’s that time of year when grazers begin asking each other, “What do you do to get shade to your animals?” Here’s why it’s helpful to YOU to provide shade, and 3 different options for making it happen. Why is Shade Important? Adding some shade to pastures, especially in places where the weather is both […]

February 22, 2021

What does the cow say?

Alexandra Green sees the humor in her work when she declares that someday she hopes to be a “cowmoonicator.” Green has been studying the vocal behavior of dairy cattle. Her work has shown that individuals have distinct voices, and that there are specific “moos” that communicate information. Working with a herd of 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers […]

October 5, 2020

How to Build a Mineral Program to Meet Your Herd’s Needs

Here are two great videos from our friends at the Beef Cattle Research Council. While they focus on cattle, some of the principles Dr. McKinnon describes can help sheep and goat producers think about and adjust their own mineral programs. If animals’ mineral needs are not met, the results are costly, and can include decreased […]

May 11, 2020

Copper Deficiency in Cattle Can Reduce Conception Rates

Last week Beth Burritt wrote about animals ability to recognize and solve mineral deficiencies. She noted that mineral nutrition is extremely complex and that the amount of a particular mineral an animal will eat depends not only on the level of that mineral in the body but also on its interactions with other minerals. This […]

December 9, 2019

Seaweed Can Reduce Methane From Cows, But….

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that supplementing cattle with seaweed could reduce methane belched by livestock. In fact, researchers in Australia and the U.S. have found that feeding as little as .5% “Asparagopsis taxiformis, a red seaweed that grows in the tropics, can decrease methane emissions by 80 percent or more. But there […]

May 20, 2019

Polioencephalomalacia – A Danger for Young Goats, Sheep and Cattle

In 2002, I was raising 60 baby goats by hand. We started them in a barn, and by Spring had transferred them to pasture where they were learning to graze. One morning, during my usual check on them, I noticed one was acting oddly. He didn’t seem to be able to see, and was turning […]

January 7, 2019

Prepping for Calving Season

Most of these tips apply to any kind of livestock that will be giving birth. So check it out!

October 1, 2018

Use Caution When Feeding Soybeans to Cattle

With drought impacting feed availability, and tariffs reducing soybean exports, some of us may be looking at ways to use what we have a lot of to make up for a lack of grazeable forage. While soybeans can be fed to cattle we need to be careful with how much we feed and we need […]

February 19, 2018

When Does a Cow In Labor Need Help?

How do you know when a cow is labor is having trouble? How do you know when to start helping her? Well, research done over 30 years ago at Oklahoma State University and at the Agricultural Research Service Laboratory in Miles City, Montana has some answers for us. They looked at how long “stage two” […]

February 12, 2018

A Cow’s Teeth Tell Her Age, and Can Help With Culling Decisions

In order to maintain condition in a pasture setting without copious amounts of supplemental feed, a cow must have a full set of teeth that have not been worn down too much. Using dentition, or the condition and wear, of the cow’s teeth can be a useful tool to determine if the cow should stay […]

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