August 8, 2022

Ecosystems Are Becoming Less Efficient at Absorbing CO2

Note from Kathy: We live and work in a very complex system that doesn’t always correspond with some of the simple explanations I’ve encountered in the grazing world. I believe that the more we know about what is happening, the better decisions we can make, and that’s why I share higher degrees of complexity with […]

July 11, 2022

What’s Soil pH and Why Do I Care?

Every soil test you get back tells you what your soil’s pH level is, and you’ve probably used that to figure out ways to improve your pasture’s productivity. But what exactly is pH and what is it doing to your forages?

July 11, 2022

Increased CO2 in the Atmosphere Increases Weeds. Weed-Eating Livestock Could Be a Solution

Some years back, I went to a meeting in Denver sponsored by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. I don’t remember the exact title, but it was something about how ranchers could adapt to a changing climate. Scientists explained what their research was telling them about plant responses to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, and they shared […]

June 27, 2022

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

You may have seen this On Pasture article before, but since this month we’re focusing on weeds, I thought you’d like to see it again. Enjoy! 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, […]

May 23, 2022

Managing for All Five Soil Health Principles

Even if you don’t have the same kind of operation the Neuharth’s have, I think you’ll enjoy their story. Their farm is an example of understanding the five soil health principles and then implementing management practices to meet every principle. Best of all, they’re including the next generation in the process and young Johnathan can […]

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 […]

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 […]

February 7, 2022

Mechanics of Soil Compaction in Pastures

Soil compaction can be a big problem on any kind of farmland, whether it’s cropland or pasture. Soil compaction makes it harder for plant roots to penetrate the soil, reduces water infiltration and air exchange, limits the ability of plants to use some nutrients, and increases the chances of water erosion. Traffic of any kind, […]

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 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, […]

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 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 […]

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