January 14, 2019

Preventing the Spread of Medusahead

Last week we looked at why Medusahead Rye is so dangerous. This week Beth shares how we can prevent its spread. These tips are important for preventing the spread of all kinds of weedy species, so check them out and use them, even if you don’t have Medusahead. Preventing medusahead from establishing in new areas […]

January 7, 2019

The Curse of Medusahead Rye

A team of genetic engineers couldn’t have devised a more ecologically lethal and effective invasive weed than Medusahead Rye. Beth Burritt is one of the researchers working on ways to stop it in it’s march across the U.S. from west to east. In this series of articles she shares what we need to know about the plant, and about a treatment that a rancher discovered that just may be a solution.

October 22, 2018

The Four Principles of Soil Health Applied to Forages

  Soil Health is one of the main tools that will help sustain farms in the future. It will help us feed the world. NRCS recognizes four principles of soil health. They are very basic but can be applied many different ways to any agricultural system. Here is how I implement them on my forage […]

August 27, 2018

The Wildfire and Weed Cycle – What We Know About Slowing the Growth of Both

Thanks to Justin Fritscher of the NRCS for this great information! Out West, wildfires and weeds are closely linked. The spread of invasive grasses is leading to more frequent and intense wildfires. These invasive grasses degrade the health of native rangelands, which threatens both wildlife and rural ways of life. An estimated 100 million acres of […]

August 20, 2018

Healing Soils With Cover Crops and Cattle

Here’s a 4:13 video from the Land Stewardship Program’s Bridge to Soil Health Initiative. In it, Kaleb Anderson shows how he uses “sacrifice” pastures planted in cover crops to keep his cattle off their hilly pastures in the spring to prevent erosion and eliminate topsoil loss.Then to counteract the damage done, he lets it heal […]

August 13, 2018

How to Beat Back a Weed to Get Better Forage and Wildlife Habitat

Like almost every grazier, Dee (DeWitt) Morris has a problem weed. For him and his Mountain Springs Ranch in Wyoming, it’s cheatgrass, an annual grass that can out-compete and eliminate nutritious native forages for livestock and wildlife, and disrupt processes that create healthy soils. And the problem, left unmanaged only gets worse with time. Cheatgrass […]

July 16, 2018

So, Which Is It – Drought Planning or Weed Management?

John Marble plans for drought every year and some years, like this one, he has to implement that plan. Now, he’s seeing some real changes in the weed component of his pastures, making him wonder – is he managing for drought or to get rid of weeds?

April 30, 2018

Diversity in Pasture Plants Has Big Effects on Herd and Flock Health

Before I began farming, I was an oceanographer. I used to study tiny, planktonic crustaceans called copepods that feed on microscopic algae, at the base of the food chain, and are themselves consumed by fishes. Some 70 percent of all fishes in the ocean eat copepods at some time in their lives. So naturally, oceanographers […]

January 1, 2018

Fire Up Your Beef Production

“Fire can be used as a tool, but fire is not a tool. Fire is part of the ecosystem process and it is just as important as rainfall on the land.” See what the benefits are and how you can get started.

December 11, 2017

Have You Checked Out the Conservation Stewardship Program?

Have you ever looked across your property and thought about some land management goals you would like to take to the next level? Have you not gotten started because you weren’t quite sure what to do, or were lacking funding to implement practices? Well, the Natural Resources Conservation Service might be help with their Conservation […]

September 25, 2017

Biodiversity Makes Us Stronger and More Resilient

Biodiversity – like having lots of different plants, bugs and wildlife in our pastures, some of which we might not even like – doesn’t always make managing our grazing  easy. But before we wish away all that “difference,” here’s a story from the news desk at the Smithsonian Institute describing the important role biodiversity can […]

August 7, 2017

Saving a Chicken Saves Cattle and Ranchers

What do cattle and lesser prairie-chickens have in common? They both love grasslands. But grasslands are in trouble. Thanks to decades of fire suppression, redcedars, shinnery oak and mesquite are progressing steadily across the prairie. Open grasslands can become closed-canopy forests in as little as 40 years. And that’s a big problem for the bird, […]

July 24, 2017

Science Says Post-Fire Grazing on Rangelands Is Not Harmful

Current federal regulations recommending that rangelands be rested from grazing for two seasons after fire are not supported by science. In fact, the research shows that healthy prairie ecosystems require grazing and fire. When tested on the ground, evidence shows that moderate post-fire grazing causes few impacts on northern mixed-grass prairie vegetation. That’s the conclusion […]

June 12, 2017

Easy Monitoring to Track Pasture and Rangeland Changes

All you need is your smart phone, maybe a shovel or fence post from the back of your truck, and the willingness to take a picture and email it to yourself and you’ve become a monitoring master!

June 12, 2017

Using Your Cattle To Control Blackberry Bushes and Other Plants You Love to Hate

In this video, Jason Crisman of JC’s Organic Farm shares a surprising development in his herd. They’re eating blackberry bushes with gusto! He attributes their new foraging to his rotational grazing, fencing them into smaller paddocks so that they become less selective graziers. Like us, cows are creatures of habit and they eat what they’ve […]

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