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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.

LATEST

“Mooove me!”

You’ve probably heard those words bellowed as an anxious herd stood at the gate ready to move to greener pastures. But as Dave Pratt of the Ranching for Profit School teaches, the decision to move the cattle to a new paddock shouldn’t be left to the bovines.

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For the past half-century, farmers and ranchers have been depending on chemicals for fertilizer and pest control.

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Let me take you on a wild ride. Every hour during the growing season, a most extraordinary phenomenon occurs in our fields: nitrogen fixation. Modest legume plants with their tiny root nodules quietly extract nitrogen gas from the air and convert this nitrogen into compounds that plants use to create proteins.

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Let me suggest an experiment you can do at home: On July 4, dive deep in the closet to pull out your heavy winter coat and wear it on a leisurely stroll across your pasture. If you don’t feel the urge to spend the rest of the day cooling off in the nearest water trough or creek, you probably are in the early stages of heat stroke and should call 911.

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Johnsongrass is an aggressive perennial grass that’s mainly considered a weed. However, it has actually been used as forage in the southern U.S. for over 150 years. Johnsongrass has a surprisingly high level of quality as forage when grazed at the appropriate time. But there are some serious toxicity issues that can occur when the grass undergoes environmental stress.

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Annual ryegrass in the pasture – if you love it, keep it. If you hate it … well, that may be a problem.

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