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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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The number of times a parent says the word “no” in a day can feel almost endless. But as any parent or grown child knows, those “nos” are merely words of wisdom from someone who has, in a sense, “been there, done that.”

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Have you ever wondered which summer annual species and variety is best for your forage system? Often, varieties of forage sorghum, sorghum x sudangrass and pearl millet are chosen based on convenience and affordability, with less emphasis on quality and quantity.

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Agricultural production faces a monumental challenge to meet the food demand of a world population of more than 9 billion people expected by 2050.

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With more than 100 pasture grasses and legume species to choose from – not to mention all the varieties and mixes available – it’s no wonder producers often have a difficult time choosing a species to plant in their pastures.

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Some folks call it winter. Some call it drought. Occasionally, it is just bad luck. Regardless of the cause, there are times when the pasture is not growing fast enough to keep up with the demand of the livestock. Whether growth is limited because of cold weather, drought or some other factor, one often needs a way to stretch pasture.

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When the growing season has come and gone, livestock managers across the country look at what’s available to extend the grazing season. Whether it’s corn stubble, sorghum-sudan grass, stockpiled fescue, forage soybeans or small grain companion crops, those heading out to graze alternative forages should review the history of manure applications on the crop.

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