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Grazing Management
A spring recharge

Brian Lease is like most other graziers in that he depends on a hefty charge to maintain the electric fences that outline his paddocks. But he also finds that springtime in Missouri is a great time to charge up the paddocks themselves by no-tilling in some legumes.

Research adds proof: High stock density builds forage

New data from West Texas adds to the proof higher stock densities can improve soil and forage health.

Plan fall grazing to cut wintering costs

Plant an annual forage crop in your grazing rotation this summer to help delay feeding hay this fall and to save money.

Grassland gets another boost from new study

The science about grazing just keeps getting better.

Swapping winter annuals for perennials saves money

Fred Greer says it is cheaper and easier to use Max-Q fescue instead of winter wheat for protein supplement on his northern Georgia ranch.

Water in paddocks improves grazing

Water deserves a lot more respect when it comes to laying out grazing systems.

EQIP boosts grazing

Some Nebraska Panhandle ranchers now raise more grass, cattle and wildlife by taking part in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to private landowners and operators.

Mob greenbacks

Paul Brown is a young man who could be making big bucks in North Dakota’s oil fields. But he figures he’s making more per hour mob-grazing yearling beef cattle on his family’s Bismarck, N.D., ranch.

Getting fired up

John Majerus of Cedar Rapids worked on his first prescribed burn this spring as a new member of the 3-year-old Central Nebraska Prescribed Burn Association. He and eight other members conducted the burn on a 30-acre native pasture owned by Pete Berthelsen of St. Paul.

Irrigated grass pays

David Fischer was tired of hauling nutrients off of his land. The farmer from Fordyce in Cedar County wanted to put something back, so he converted irrigated alfalfa to certified organic pasture. On 800 acres of land that he now manages, he allows the cattle to spread the nutrients for him and do much of his
harvesting.

Stock dogs live to work

How would you like someone on the farm that is always ready to go, eager to work and never complains? For livestock owners, a good stock dog may be the answer — and more.

Managed grazing makes sense

According to the 2007 U.S. Ag Census, more than 11,000 Wisconsin dairy and livestock farms utilize some form of rotational or managed grazing. For dairy herds of all sizes, managed grazing is a flexible practice that can fit into current feed management and forage production strategies. Pasture resources can be managed to provide forage needs of individual groups of lactating cows, dry cows, heifers or the entire herd during the grazing season.

‘Cowboy GPS’ guides ranch planning

A GPS, or global positioning system, is a device used to help navigate from one location to another — essentially, it helps you find your way.

Know your range plants, goals

You want to have good range and pasture, but where do you start?

Grazing cows favor meadow fescue

After being forgotten in the wake of developing tall fescues, meadow fescue is staging a comeback for pasture grazing. “The grass has great potential for grazing-based livestock operations, where it’s adapted,” says Geoffrey Brink, research agronomist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, Wis.

Set a table of grass

Much like he does during the day at his UPS package job, Mitch Baltz delivers — with feed his cattle can use.

His cows graze in pastures of plenty

The buffet of grasses on Mitch Baltz’s place is a work in progress, but the Powhatan, Ark., cattle producer sees a day coming when his cows and calves will spend most of the year grazing in pastures of plenty.

New fescues end toxin damage

For openers, Craig Roberts tells farmers that toxic endophyte in fescue costs the Missouri beef industry $160 million each year.

Getting both grain and forage from wheat is achievable goal

When it comes to growing winter wheat, some aim for grain, other producers seek livestock forage, while others want both.

Solar panels power pump, electric fence

Located near Estherville in northern Iowa, Gordon Garrison is a do-it-yourself kind of farmer. But the conservation-minded sheep producer didn’t flinch at getting some assistance from the sun to help keep his steep land in grass.

Weeds that threaten livestock

Tansy ragwort, common groundsel and fiddleneck, weeds commonly found in California, are extremely toxic to cattle and horses due to their content of toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, or PAs, and can cause significant economic loss to cattle producers and horse owners. The warning comes from the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System at the University of California, Davis.

Mob grazing works

A lot can change on a farm in five years, and it has at Sawyer Beef near Princeton. Since Neal Sawyer joined his dad, Norm, in the operation in 2005, the two have transformed the way they’re grazing their rolling hills near the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa, and they’re expanding a niche market they found for grass-fed beef.

Antilley Ranch field day centers on brush

Some 300 visitors filled six large buses for the Dow AgroSciences Heritage Tour of the Antilley Ranch this spring at Wingate, Texas, just outside Abilene.

Stretch pastures during drought

Hit by drought, cattle producers are asking how to stretch their pastures. Two major techniques may be pursued, according to Iowa State University Extension beef specialist Denise Schwab. One is to reduce the grazing pressure from the animal side, and the other is to supplement the amount of feed available.

Forage artist plans for success

The first thing you see when you drive down the lane toward Mike Hoopengardner’s livestock barns is a sign proclaiming the family as local soil conservation honorees. That’s not bad once you learn the family just began to convert their acreage from cropland into all forages about four years ago.

Fire helps put grass back in grassland

Fire has been a part of the prairie landscape for centuries, but virtually disappeared after more than a century of settlement. The U.S. Forestry Service is trying to reverse that trend at the Black Kettle National Grassland in western Oklahoma with a prescribed burn program that is slowly reverting the landscape back to its natural state.

Tips to manage pastures during drought

Droughts are an act of Mother Nature and cannot be controlled. However, proper management can help maintain pastureland during a period of drought by following this advice:

Make room for grazing

Jim Randall is one of those rare individuals who actually can see the forest through the trees. And if a tree does not fit into his overall farm plan, he cuts it down.

Land costs put pressure on mob grazing

Mob grazing — heavy stocking on small paddocks of forage — intrigues livestock producers. Promised benefits of increased soil organic matter, even distribution of manure, and more diverse forage species are talking points of promoters.

Native grass works

Native grasses that have proven themselves suitable to the Shackelford County, Texas, environment are the backbone for cattle and wildlife on the Merrick Davis Ranch, operated by H&M Cattle Co.

Break even at $1.18 corn

Gabe Brown and son Paul have a breakeven cost on corn of $1.18 per bushel — thanks to their innovative use of no-till, cover crops and cattle.“Cattle so improve cropland that we want to get cattle on every acre we farm,” Gabe says.

Growers save on feed costs by using grass

When the price of fuel, fertilizer and feed went through the roof three years ago, a group of University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture experts went back to basics to help struggling cattle producers manage their costs.

Grass farmer

Dan Specht is as concerned about making a profit as any other farmer. But the organic grassland farmer in northeast Iowa believes he can manage his pastures in a way that maximizes profit and still offers good habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Formulate feed for grass grazing

Feeding a seasonal herd of 300 cows, pastured and milked three times a day, isn’t as challenging as you might think. Rob Hunt of Vergennes, Vt., ought to know. He’s been doing it successfully for years.

Set up time required for organic dairy

As a conventional dairy producer, Justin Burbrink, Brandt Farm, Bartholomew County, had a goal of maximizing milk production. Under organic dairy production for three years, his goals became maintaining herd health and focusing on moving toward totally grass-based, self-sufficient production.

Texas gets weed control in dry fertilizer

Texas cattle raisers have another way to get weed control in pastures — in one step.

Keep cow manure on pasture, out of pond

Mitch Baltz loves to see his cows on grass, but he can’t stand to see them standing in ponds loafing.So, in one sloping pasture, the Powhatan, Ark., cattle producer built two successive stair-step ponds.

Partnering for progress

Monty and Bobbie Jo Williams — and a silent partner who does not want to be identified — have made many improvements in recent years to the ranch that they operate together, and have increased its carrying capacity by 40%.

Graze for 365 days

One of the greatest advantages of Management-intensive Grazing, or MiG, is summer grazing in order to give producers the opportunity to grow more forages for winter grazing, says Jim Gerrish, a nationally recognized grazing specialist. Winter grazing can save money and time, allowing farmers and ranchers to graze standing forages and stalks instead of feeding hay.

Grazing options expand

You may have more choices than you think in how you graze your land. Changes in technology for flexible fencing and watering systems make concentrated, high-density rotational grazing with long rest periods for the pasture or forage more attractive now. And there are more benefits for livestock owners who develop a successful grazing system and commit to closely managing and moving their animals.

Range on the rebound

The 2011 record drought and merciless heat hammered rangeland. More than 30,000 fires burned 4 million acres. Hundreds of thousands of cattle were impacted.

Carrs help teach next-generation grass managers

Jim Carr, Atkinson, has been a rangeland manager in the making since his days on the high school FFA range-judging team, and he’s determined to help the next generation of farmers and ranchers become successful grass managers.

Wintering yearlings pays off

Three Nebraska cattle producers who have adopted winter grazing programs for their operations are realizing benefits from the practice.