April 25, 2022

Saving Money, and Protecting Soil and Forage Health During Drought and High Hay Prices

Drought and high hay prices have something in common: responding successfully means taking care of soil and forage health. Here I’ve collected tips and principles from ranchers and On Pasture authors to help you think through what you’re managing for and why. Of course a management plan will make all this more doable, so be […]

April 11, 2022

How To Determine Your Recovery Period: The Magic Of Thirteen

Focusing on to two basic concepts is the best way to become a successful grazier: Graze Period and Recovery Period. The Graze Period is the time animals are left in a paddock. The proper graze period ensures you get the most out of your forage without allowing your animals to re-graze new growth. The Recovery […]

March 21, 2022

How Much is Fed Hay Worth as Fertilizer?

  Have you ever stopped to think about what the dollar value of the nutrients in the hay are worth as fertilizer once they have been processed by the cow? Here’s some math to provide an answer: Mature cows at maintenance should excrete 100% of the nutrients they consume in terms of nitrogen, phosphorus and […]

March 7, 2022

How Much Forage Do I Have?

This month we’re focused on planning for the upcoming grazing season. Last week, we gave you free, downloadable grazing charts along with a list of questions you can ask yourself to get started adding information to the chart. This week, we’re giving you some more background to help you answer those questions. In this one […]

February 21, 2022

Understanding Plants’ Heat Stress Response Could Lead to Improved Resilience

As a result of a changing climate, the past few decades have seen increased incidences of heat waves with record highs around the globe. In fact, July 2021 was the hottest month ever documented on the planet. In the U.S., the mean temperature was higher than the average for July by 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and […]

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 […]

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. […]

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