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 […]

June 21, 2021

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

“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 […]

June 14, 2021

What’s the Impact of Grazing Without Recovery Periods?

This is a little inspiration for thinking about your grazing management and what your goals are.  In this two minute, time lapse video you’ll see how continuous grazing impacts the overall production of a forage grass –  orchardgrass in this case. The plant on the left is “grazed” (clipped) every week regardless of whether or […]

June 7, 2021

I’ve Got This Weed In My Pasture. What Does It Tell Me About My Soil?

Can weeds tell you about soil health issues? Well, yes and no. I’ve got a lot of experience with weeds since I’ve spent the last 17 years teaching cattle, sheep, goats and bison to eat them under all kinds of soil conditions and all kinds of landscapes. My observation is that spotted knapweed does well […]

May 31, 2021

Can Cattle Eat Leafy Spurge?

Some time ago, I got this email from Jamie in Nebraska: Dear Kathy, I am interested in your way of controlling leafy spurge with cattle, however, I was informed that leafy spurge was toxic to cattle. I guess my question is how much can they eat before they become sick? I have a 600 acre […]

May 10, 2021

Here’s What Short Grazing Does to Spring Regrowth

As you walk or drive your ATV around your pastures, you may notice differences in plant growth. The reasons for those differences can vary but include irregularities in fertility, last autumn’s stop grazing heights, soils, compaction, rest after grazing and the forages themselves. Continuous grazing can be a contributor to differences in plant growth. Back […]

May 3, 2021

Dancing Roots – The Secret of How Plants Push Through Compacted Soils

In the past we’ve written about research that shows plants are better at reducing soil compaction than subsoilers. But how do can they do that? Well, today’s story gives us the answer courtesy of researchers at Duke University. Thanks to Robin Smith and Veronique Koch for this excellent story! Be sure to watch the roots […]

April 26, 2021

How Rising Temperatures Affect Plants’ Ability to Survive

Thanks for this article go to Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor, University of Illinois News Bureau Agricultural scientists who study climate change often focus on how increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels will affect crop yields. But rising temperatures are likely to complicate the picture, researchers report in a new review of the topic. Published in […]

April 19, 2021

A Focus on Soil Health Helps Farmer/Grazier Through Weather Extremes

Forecasters are predicting that extreme weather events are going to become more and more common in the future. This article from Lynn Betts and the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition provides an example of what we can do to “weather” this new reality. You can meet Craig in this 3:24 video where he talks about […]

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