January 24, 2022

Alfalfa or Clover? Adding Quality Forage to Your Pasture

Reader Question: Is it possible to overseed alfalfa into existing permanent pasture? We have clover that is coming in but alfalfa greens up faster in spring, survives our summer heat and lasts longer in fall. I was thinking adding about 10% alfalfa might be a huge improvement. We need higher quality feed for our sheep […]

January 10, 2022

Tips for Adding Soil Fertility While Weathering High Fertilizer Prices

One of the bigger challenges for this season is going to be fertilizer costs. If you have “stockpiled” some soil fertility in your pastures and hay fields, then you certainly look pretty smart right now. Banking some fertility is easier to do on pastures than it is on hay fields. The majority of nutrients on […]

December 20, 2021

Grazing In The Sweet Spot

Grazing in the Sweet Spot is a phrase I have been using for over a decade. Until the last few years I have only used that term when talking to myself. I didn’t have a good handle on how to explain it to others. Now that I have thought about it for a number of […]

December 6, 2021

Where’s the Poop?

Everyone says that one of the benefits of management intensive grazing is that the cows put the fertilizer right on the ground where it belongs. But how well are they doing their jobs? Are they spreading the love? Or are they concentrating in particular places? Most importantly, who’s going to do the ground surveys to […]

November 22, 2021

Adding and Spreading Pasture Nutrients With All Four Feet on the Ground

Want to improve your pastures? Work with your manure spreaders to get the good stuff on the ground!

November 8, 2021

The Amazing Power of Compost to Increase Forage and Carbon Sequestration

What if you knew that doubling your forage and increasing long-term carbon sequestration was as simple as spreading a thin layer of compost on pastures? Would you do it? In 2008, my friends John Wick and Peggy Rathmann began a study to determine how much carbon is sequestered in soil as a result of managed, […]

October 25, 2021

Grazing Cornstalks? Beware of Nitrates!

Thanks for this article to Aaron Berger, Nebraska Extension Beef Educator and Mary Drewnoski, Nebraska Extension Beef Systems Specialist. Cornstalk residue is a tremendous resource for fall and winter grazing; however, this year care needs to be taken in grazing drought stressed cornstalks due to the potential of high nitrates in the feed. Cattle prefer […]

October 11, 2021

Is it the Cattle Causing Water Quality Problems? Bring in the Forensics Team!

When water quality tests in the Mink Creek watershed came back showing high levels of E. coli bacteria, Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality reported cattle as the probable cause, setting the grazing permitees up for possible problems. But were the cattle really the problem? In this two part series from the “Art of Range” podcast, […]

September 27, 2021

Frost Can Cause Forage Hazards – Protect Your Livestock

A rancher posted on a facebook group I’m part of that she’d lost 4 cows and one bull to bloat four days after turning them into a frosted alfalfa pasture. What should have been no problem suddenly turned deadly thanks to changes in frosted alfalfa that increase bloat potential. But that’s not the only plant […]

September 13, 2021

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

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 […]

August 23, 2021

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

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 […]

August 9, 2021

Providing Good Forage for Calving Season and Year Round Grazing

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 […]

July 26, 2021

Aspirin Takes the Headache Out of Establishing Sustainable Pastures

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 […]

July 12, 2021

Alfalfa: A Winner for Producers and the Environment

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. […]

June 28, 2021

Feed Alternatives When Drought Puts a Halt to Forage Production

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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