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Grasses and Grazing

Learn about pasture management, stocking rates and grass production from beef and dairy specialists and agronomists around the country.

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I was spot-spraying autumn olive that had encroached into the field when I noticed a bobwhite quail scurry through the grasses and into the fencerow.

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A number of events are converging these days, resulting in constricted budgets for forage producers. Cattle markets are reflecting these occurrences while hay prices continue to be high. But as history has proven, the sun will continue to shine, and the grass will continue to grow – along with the weeds. Fortunately, weeds are something we can control.

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In my part of the country, the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio, first cutting hay yields were very short. Late freezes and timely harvests likely contributed to this problem. If your hay supplies are likely to be short this winter, what are some options?

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In Oklahoma and other surrounding states, summer prescribed fires are a common form of mitigation for cedar trees, which hinder cattle producers. Along with cedar-tree control, prescribed burns offer a number of benefits to livestock producers and wildlife habitats, says John Weir, associate extension specialist of prescribed fire at Oklahoma State University (OSU).

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Times are tough across the agricultural sector. The dairy subsector is particularly vulnerable after five years of low milk prices, and low cattle prices are a cause of concern for beef producers.

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Grass silages can be the most versatile forage crop available to producers. They also can be the most challenging.

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