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Shortly after I joined the NRCS about twelve years ago, a retired NRCS Grazing Specialist by the name of Steve Hibinger was assigned to me to “show me the ropes.” One of the things he taught me about grazing in Ohio thas stuck with me all this time. If I could teach it to every…

via Never-Fail Rules for Grazing — On Pasture

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.

via Wean Early to Prep Thin Cows for Winter Weather — On Pasture

How to Manage Your Animals in Sync with Nature – Greg Judy

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.

From our archive of articles – this August 2016 article is quite timely now. Winter feeding accounts for 40+% of the cost of producing a calf, so reducing or eliminating this bad habit can help keep your ranch in the black.

One way to reduce winter feeding costs is to extend the period that cattle harvest their own feed by grazing. Here are four things livestock operators need to successfully extend the grazing season:

1) Forage in the field or pasture

2) Control of grazing

3) Cows that know how to work for a living

4) Positive attitude

Forage in the Field

Having forage in the field for livestock to graze means it needs to be grown and reserved during the growing season. This forage can come from various sources, but it requires planning so that it is suitable and available. Several options exist.

Some operators may use rested public or private range land. Public agencies may look favorably on switching to fall or winter use. Rested rangeland can provide 5 to 40 cow-days/acre of grazing, depending on the resource. Forage quality is always a consideration, but native ranges should have adequate quality for dry pregnant cows. Crested wheatgrass pastures will probably require some protein supplementation.

Rested native meadow may supply from 50 to 200 cow-days/acre of grazing in the fall and early winter. Forage quality and quantity are usually higher than rangeland, and these areas are usually on private land, so management is less complicated.

via Reduce Your Feed Costs This Winter With These Tips for Extending Your Grazing Season — On Pasture

Pros and Cons of Intensive Livestock Farming

Intensive (or factory) farming is one of the latest methods to enhance productivity and yield, concentrating on gaining most output per area by using low input strategy.  It is the polar opposite of organic farming and a result for demand for higher food demand for cheaper prices. Intensive farming does not only occur for corps […]

Puerto Rico’s Agriculture and Farmers

Hurricane Maria’s barrage took out entire plantations and destroyed crops and livestock across the island. The storm knocked out about 80 percent of its crops. Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/us/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-agriculture-.html

Make Your Nitrogen Management Plan Now

  Whether you apply in the fall, spring or a variety of times through split application, you need to be strategic about nitrogen. “This is the right time to sit down with your retailer, look at your cropping systems and see what will be best for you when it comes to spring versus fall-applied nitrogen,” […]