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 31, 2021

Weeds Are NOT the Problem!

In the last few weeks I have attended a couple of field day, farm tour type of affairs. To my knowledge none of them were sponsored by any of the chemical companies directly, but listening to the folks putting on these things you could very easily believe were in the employ of these companies. At […]

May 24, 2021

What’s Your Soil’s Texture?

Figuring out your soil’s texture is as easy as mud pie. Here we show you how to do a little hands on testing.

May 17, 2021

Predatory Soil Bacteria Hunt Like Vampires and Wolves, Helping Move Carbon Through the Soil

Scientists studying soils are working hard to help us understand what’s going on underneath our feet. It looks like some of what’s happening is a lot like what happens above ground, only on a microscopic scale, with predators hunting and eating prey. While we’ve known about these interactions, we now know that it is part […]

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 […]

April 12, 2021

Researchers Have New Information on How Soil Feeds on the Air We Breathe

The soil in a grassland, a forest, a wetland and a desert is quietly working, transforming trace gases in the atmosphere. New research led by Associate Professor Chris Greening from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has found that more than 70% of soil bacteria feed on the hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane in the air we […]

April 5, 2021

Have You Discovered the Benefits of Canada Thistle?

I have a different feeling about weeds than most people. That’s because I’ve turned them into forage. Read on for the benefits of one of my favorite forages – Canada thistle. In 2004, I developed a simple method for teaching cows and other  livestock to eat weeds. It takes just eight hours spread over seven […]

March 29, 2021

Our Latest Plague: Meadow Voles

I try to keep in touch with our custom grazing clients, maybe call them once a month or so during the winter months. This helps remind me to pay attention to forage conditions here on the ranch and lets them know that I’m thinking about them. Often, these calls include some personal conversations or potential […]

March 22, 2021

Year-Round Grazing Paradise (or at least moving towards that)

Don’t you sometimes wish it was spring year-round? As I write this, snow is coming down towards the tail-end of February, and it feels like forever ago since I saw green grass or a tree in leaf. The long winter almost makes you forget what it’s like to just sweat during the summer. Then again, […]

March 15, 2021

What Do Plant Roots Do for Soil Health?

“Maximizing Living Roots” is the third principle of soil health and it’s focused on feeding the soil. When I first saw this phrase, I confess–it struck me as a bit odd:  since living roots can’t exist without whole living plants, why not just say “maximize living plants?” After a while it dawned on me—if we […]

March 8, 2021

Soil Temps and Grass Growth – What’s happening now?

In his latest issue of Grazing Bites, Victor Shelton paused to think about a question someone asked him: “Don’t you think that the grass seems greener after the snow melted away and is it growing?” Victor’s answer was, “It might still feel rather cool to most people, but it doesn’t take much warmth, especially in […]

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