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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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Midwestern pastures are generally dominated by cool-season perennial forages that are productive in spring but have slow growth in mid- to late summer.

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Over the past decade, interest in management-intensive grazing (MiG) on irrigated pastures in the western U.S. has been steadily increasing due to the prospects of reduced production costs, increased animal output, land use efficiency and environmental benefits.

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Grass-fed beef currently constitutes about 3% of the total beef market and continues to grow as a market segment. USDA defines grass-fed as “ruminant animals whose diet throughout their lifespan is solely derived from forage.”

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Looking across a pasture, we should expect to see grazing animals, a diversity of forage species, fences with gates and drinking water sources. Not so obvious is the dynamic flow of energy, nutrients and water above and below ground. But rest assured, this is occurring constantly, just at different rates depending on the seasonal growth cycle.

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Like many of you, an intense interest for cattle develops in the blood and soul of a person, to the degree that it is hard to describe. It is in our DNA and is often a passion we can’t seem to let go of, even if we tried.

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The Great Plains is the major grassland of North America and extends from the boreal forest in Canada (Alberta, central British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) all the way south to the Mexican border.

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