Darrel Franson started a second career in 1993 when his family moved from Wisconsin to Mt. Vernon, MO. The former cooperative manager found that raising a beef herd on toxic tall fescue was challenging, so slowly started renovating pastures to novel-endophyte fescue and doesn't regret the cost, he says. The benefits of having a healthy, more-productive herd are paying off, Franson says. For more, see our story, "Taking The Toxic Out Of Tall Fescue."
Darrel Franson’s 60-cow beef herd is healthier and more profitable now that he’s converted his 112 acres of pasture from toxic Kentucky 31 to novel-endophyte tall fescue. His calf weight gains average 2.65 lbs/day, up from 2 lbs, while weaning rates moved from 80% to 90%. Fall-calving conception rates increased, too....More
Early weeds in warm-season grass pastures, especially common this year, should be controlled, and grazing is the best method, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist.
“These weeds will remove moisture that could be used for grass growth later on and they remove valuable nutrients from the soil,” says Anderson. “Early weeds also can develop so much growth that they shade, smother and reduce early growth of your summer pasture grasses.”...More
Grower reports of reduced stands of orchardgrass led to research examining how mowing height and fertility may affect stand persistence, points out Ray Smith, University of Kentucky Extension forage specialist.
The conclusion: Growers may need to adjust their mowers to higher cutting heights....More
The past 17 years, V. Mac Baldwin has slowly and successfully incorporated summer-annual crabgrass as part of his Yanceyville, NC, grazing operation. He estimates average daily gains of 2-3 lbs/head.
“I’m raising cattle on a grass they love to eat and that loves to grow naturally – especially when other forages don’t want to grow in hot weather"...More
Leafy spurge, Canada thistle and spotted knapweed – those aren’t exactly the forages you’d expect cattle to eat. But over the past decade, a growing number of researchers and ranchers are beginning to believe that cattle can be trained to eat certain weeds...More
These University of Kentucky photos of orchardgrass show the difference between continuously grazed (left plant, clipped to 1” initially and weekly the next four weeks) and rotationally grazed (right plant, initially clipped to 3½” and once again at 3½” four weeks later). Visit www.uky.edu/Ag/Forage.to view time-lapse video of orchardgrass regrowth.
Denny Pogue will increase his beef cow numbers this year by 30% – adding a spring herd to his established fall herd of 70 cows. “This will allow us to utilize lower-quality forages with dry cows twice a year instead of just June through August and use the higher-quality forages for cow-calf pairs or weaned calves,” he says....More
“It takes about 10 minutes to feed 160 cows, and we don’t burn a drop of fuel,” says Wayne Heinrichs in describing his herd’s winter feeding program. The Brandon, Manitoba, cattleman figures he can feed a cow for $1/day...More
Managing forages to improve cattle performance and cut costs will be the focus of the West Tennessee Grazing Conference, scheduled for March 19 at the University of Tennessee’s (UT) West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson....More
Grants for grazing assistance and education will be provided through the Wisconsin Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, which aims to expand the use of profitable, grazing-based livestock production systems that foster environmental stewardship....More
Grazing winter pastures for short periods early in the growing season won’t hurt, and may even help, their productivity, says Robin Salverson, a South Dakota State University Extension cow-calf field specialist....More