Tag: pasture

How Much Can You Afford To Spend On Feed?

A midwestern University specialist recently wrote a column for a leading beef industry magazine claiming that winter feeding is the biggest expense in most cow/calf enterprises. That may be true in most cow/calf enterprises, but I doubt it’s true for any of the most profitable cow/calf enterprises. The specialist offered suggestions to “reduce feed costs […]

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Boots On The Ground & Eyes Looking Down

I recently participated in a pasture rejuvenation workshop. My presentation on grazing principles was followed by an explanation of a multi-year trial on pasture rejuvenation. I didn’t understand why pasture rejuvenation was such a big issue to the attendees. A well-managed pasture shouldn’t need mechanical, herbicide or seeding treatments to stay healthy and productive. My […]

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How Long is Long Enough?

The biggest mistake people make in grazing management is providing too short a recovery period for plants after grazing. Of course too much rest isn’t good either. In drier environments excluding animals from a pasture long after it has recovered will lead to reduced productivity, dead grass and bare soil. In wetter environments it can […]

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To Move or Not To Move

How do you know when it is time to move animals from one pasture to another? Most people figure that if they are out of feed in one pasture, it is time to move. The herd is probably standing at the gate voicing their agreement that it is time to “Mooove.” There’s nothing they’d like […]

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Going Around In Circles

Rotational grazing doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for at least two reasons. One reason it doesn’t work is that, rather than rotationally graze, most people rotationally overgraze. They get overstocking and overgrazing confused. Overstocking happens when you have more animals than you have grass to support them. Overgrazing happens when you keep animals in a pasture […]

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Half and Half

Take half – leave half.  It is probably the most common advice you’ll hear regarding grazing utilization. In my opinion it is bad advice. It was probably the brainchild of someone looking for a one-size-fits-all, easy-to-remember recipe. It may be easy to remember, but this recipe is likely to produce a crummy meal. What does […]

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Cowboys and Grassmen

I once heard Bud Williams say, “Ranchers love their cows and hate their grass.”  Bud thought they had it backwards. They should love their grass and hate their cattle. I know that Bud didn’t really hate cattle or think that anyone else ought to hate them, but his point was that for a livestock business […]

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Boots On The Ground

You can’t monitor the health of land from a windshield.  You’ve got to have boots on the ground. Even then, we tend to look across the land rather than into it.  Looking across gives a distorted picture of what’s really going on. We need to look into the land.   Study the photo below.  It […]

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Rotational Overgrazing

Nearly 15 years ago I surveyed over 300 commercial cattle producers asking them questions about their grazing practices and their attitudes about change.  One hundred twenty of them (40%) identified “rotational grazing” as their primary method of managing cattle on pasture. Over 80% of the rotational grazers reported having fewer than 8 paddocks per herd.  […]

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Two For The Price Of One

Would you like a free ranch? This summer I had the pleasure of visiting several Ranching For Profit School alumni ranches from Texas to Montana and points in between.  Most are applying cell grazing and are producing impressive results. Cell grazing involves giving paddocks adequate rest, keeping graze periods short, increasing stock density and adjusting […]

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