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 […]

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 […]

December 21, 2020

When Your Livestock Graze Weeds You’ll Have 43% More Forage

I’ve been teaching cows to eat weeds since 2004. Over the years since I first developed the training method, I’ve trained over 1,000 cattle, some flocks of sheep and goats, and even some of Ted Turner’s bison. The method is simple, takes just 8 hours spread over 10 days, and anyone can do it. Weed-eating […]

September 28, 2020

Cheating Cheatgrass

I got an email not long ago from a researcher who wondered if I could help her find a place to purchase cheatgrass seed. I wasn’t aware of anyone selling the seed, but I did want to help, so I wrote back, “My suggestion is a little odd, but I think it would work. I […]

June 22, 2020

Updates on Projects to Manage Weeds and Turn a Dying Timber Stand Into Pasture

  I am often reminded of my old professor Dr. Breakey, especially lately as I review the results of two recent “field experiments.” Project 1: What in Tar(weed)Nation? Managing a New Weed Last spring I wrote about a massive invasion of Tarweed that had dominated a large chunk of the ranch. Those nasty plants interfered […]

April 6, 2020

Managing Grazing to Target Cheatgrass and Other Weeds

Thanks for this article go to Ben Beckman, Nebraska Extension Educator, and Mitch Stephenson, UNL Range Management Specialist. They give us an excellent example of what to consider when managing grazing to target cheatgrass. We’ve added some notes on how you can adapt this to other grasses and weeds. Enjoy! While Mother Nature has been […]

March 30, 2020

Why Cows That Learn to Eat One Weed Will Choose to Eat Others

In 2004, I trained cows at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site to eat Canada thistle, leafy spurge and spotted knapweed. Then, they started eating musk thistle as soon as I put them in pasture. When I trained 110 pairs to eat Canada thistle at the Jumping Horse Ranch near Ennis, Montana, they added musk thistle […]

March 23, 2020

How to Teach Cows to Eat Weeds in Just 8 Hours Over 7 Days

This works for any animal – so whatever you’re raising, check it out! In 2004, I taught a small group of heifers to eat Canada thistle, leafy spurge and spotted knapweed. I was inspired by two decades of research on how animals choose what to eat, and by ranchers’ (perfectly reasonable) refusal to incorporate goats […]

March 2, 2020

Finding Credence in a Clearcut Revival – Converting a Dying Forest Into Grazing Land

In addition to being an article about forest conversion, this is also an example of looking at the resources we manage, paying attention to a site’s potential, and considering what is best for our operations. We hope it inspires you to look around with new eyes.

January 13, 2020

Here’s a Great Resource for Learning More About Your Plants

Are you considering planting a new kind of forage in your pasture? Do you have trees or bushes that you’re trying to manage and you need to know more about them to be successful? Would you like to know what plants grow in your state? Well, here’s the website you need to answer all those […]

October 7, 2019

Canopeo – An App to Help You Measure Your Pasture Cover

In his article this week, Troy Bishopp describes an app that Victor Shelton used to look at cover on Troy’s pastures. With just a few photos, Troy learned the 80% cover that he thought he was leaving was actually more like 60-70%. Troy found the tool useful because it helped him better calibrate his grazier’s […]

February 25, 2019

A Rancher’s Discovery Shows Promise for Controlling Medusahead Rye

In two previous articles, Beth Burritt wrote about the scariest invasive plant I know, Medusahead rye. This week, I’m sharing the good news that there may be a solution for controlling it.

January 21, 2019

Thinking of Seeding Your Pastures?

By this time of year, any seeding of forages would be considered a dormant seeding. Seeds planted now will lay there until the right conditions present themselves closer to spring. Most producers with pasture or hay ground understand the concept of “frost-seeding.” Frost-seeding is taking advantage of the freeze-thaw process of the soil during winter […]

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