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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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Annual clovers (arrowleaf, crimson, ball, berseem, etc.) are cool-season legumes. They improve forage growth distribution and increase forage yield and quality while reducing nitrogen fertilizer need.

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When it comes to improving pasture and rangeland health, ranch management consultant Dave Pratt says to stay away from agronomic principles and instead apply ecological principles to land management. At the recent Ranching For Profit School held Jan. 19-25 in Billings, Montana, Pratt and his associate Dallas Mount of the University of Wyoming discussed various methods to improve range health, among many other aspects of a ranch business.

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Federal policies regarding invasive species, conservation plantings and cost-share farm programs have generated strong enthusiasm in converting old pastures and hay ground into rotational grazing systems comprised of native grasses.

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Native grasses are a forage option receiving increased attention in recent years. They provide high yields of high-quality forage with few inputs and show remarkable drought tolerance, making these perennial summer grasses of interest to forage growers.

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The impact of corn ethanol demand on grain prices over the past few years has brought food versus fuel competition for farmland into sharp focus.

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 With rising hay prices, producers are looking to maximize the grazing season, allowing them to feed cattle longer on the cheapest form of feed available – grass.

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