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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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Thomas Edison wrote, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” My good fortune, managing grasslands that resemble the lost prairies, has come through the inspiration and mentorship of many graziers throughout the country.

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Pastures must be well-established to be highly productive. Before establishing new pastures or renovating existing pastures, producers must evaluate the farm’s forage needs.

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“If you’re paying for the ground year-round, you might as well try to use it year-round,” says Cliff Schuette, a grain and beef producer in western Illinois. This is the theory that thousands of farmers fail to put into practice.

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Forage is a vital resource for a livestock operation. It is a cheap source of feed for grazing animals and the best way to stay economically viable. The basis of any successful livestock grazing system is learning to manage the forage or pasture within environmental limitations, grower skills and knowledge.

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How short a pasture should be grazed or cut is one of the key factors in grazing and forage management, and one entirely under your control. How much forage can be grazed or cut affects the quality and quantity, and the persistence of the forage plant.

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Multi-species grazing is the practice of using two or more species of livestock together or separately on the same land in a specific growing season.

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