Imagine you’re a carbon molecule floating in the atmosphere and your mission is to get from there into the soil and stay there for decades. Your first step – slip into a plant through an open stoma. Stomata are microscopic openings on the surfaces of plant leaves that allow for the easy passage of water […]
Our First System The first setup was installed about 12 months ago. It is currently running about 3 miles of single-strand wire. We live in a fairly high rainfall area, so consequently, we have pretty good weed pressure on the fence through the summer. We have not had to do any mowing under the wire […]
A four-year study of ranchers in Western Canada indicates that shifting from winter calving to spring calving increases cow pregnancy rates and calf survival. Due to market pressures, Canada’s cow-calf sector has consolidated into fewer, larger herds and producers have begun calving later, and in the pasture, to avoid increases in labor, equipment, and facilities […]
After weaning and prior to winter can be one of the most economical times to improve the body condition score (BCS) of a spring-calving cow.
In some years, forage quality, weather conditions, and time of weaning can make putting body condition on cows more difficult. Last year, in many parts of Nebraska, high amounts of early rainfall caused tremendous forage growth. By July, that forage quality had declined and was similar to September/October forage quality. As normal weaning time occurred in 2018 for many producers, cows tended to be thinner on average. This was coupled with the increased maintenance energy requirements during the winter due to the cold stress, which left cows calving in less than optimum BCS.
Considering your forage growth and weather is always helpful when it comes to choosing a weaning date. As an example of this, for those of us in Nebraska this year, saying we have had above-average rainfall is an understatement. Although forage growth came on late due to cooler temperatures, native range quality is sitting close to average in the Sandhills. Unfortunately, the extra precipitation has challenged hay production for many beef producers. In spite of adequate range quality, the potentially decreased hay production is an additional reason to monitor cow BCS to decide a weaning date.
When buying land for cattle production, there are some unique characteristics to consider before signing a contract. These characteristics include: stocking rate, forage quality and type, soil type and fertility, terrain and slope of the land, water sources in each pasture, number of pastures and traps, working pen availability and condition, fence condition and type, and other infrastructure (overhead bins, interior roads, etc.) availability and condition.
Soil types can vary widely, not only across counties but also across ranches. Each soil type has different forage production potential. A loamy, bottomland soil will have the potential to produce more grass than a shallow soil found along ridges or hilltops. Knowing what and how much of each soil types are on the ranch will allow you to understand the forage production capability of the land you’re investigating. Land that has the capability of producing less forage for cattle consumption than other properties in the same general area could be less valuable to a livestock producer because of the reduced animal number it will support relative to properties of comparable size.
Clipping your pastures late in the fall can severely impact your winter stockpile growth for your winter forage supply.
A bad habit that many grass managers have in lawn and hay systems is cutting it too close. By “it,” I mean the grass. There are some misconceptions about what the best height is to cut grass. It can also be confusing because the ideal cutting height varies with the type of grass. The common […]
A late, wet spring put a double whammy on beef producers who rely on winter feed. Most producers used up most — if not all — of their hay carryover, so are starting with no reserves. Plus, the weather-delayed, and in some cases, prevented hay from being harvested. All of which makes winter feed planning even more critical this year. […]
This session will offer two perspectives about animal behavior in grazing systems. Session highlights include a producer’s perspective on how daily relaxed animal moves can improve docility; important grazing management practices to improve animal health and performance; discussion of how animal behavior can impact the economics and ecology of farms and ranches.
“How big should my paddocks/pastures be?” The answer involves some forage clipping, some weighing, and some math and Dave Scott explains it all here. Enjoy! Dave Scott’s Sheep RanchDave Scott and his wife own and operate Montana Highland Lamb (Home Grown & Happy) in Whitehall Montana. Dave is also a livestock specialist at ATTRA’s National […]