Our native grasslands generally evolved with the three major influences of climate, grazing, and fire. While the impacts of climate can be somewhat mitigated, your operation is largely at the mercy of the weather.
A drought plan will be an essential component to your overall grazing plan as it provides guidance in making decisions during critical times when forage may be lacking. Generally, a drought plan will identify certain 'triggers', including calendar dates (that you determine) when critical management decisions are to be reviewed.
Have you ever thought about how some years get labeled “bad years” for a certain animal disease? There is still talk of how early 2018 was a “bad year” for calf scours. Likewise, there are “bad years” for calf pneumonia and even “bad years” for breeding on pasture.
Proper placement of water and salt/mineral blocks can aid in distribution of livestock within a pasture. By controlling placement of these resources, you control animal behavior and patterns, reducing trampling due to congestion.
While producers have long acknowledged that access to water makes the difference between a profitable or unsuccessful operation, they are beginning to understand that water quality may be as important as water quantity.
Teffgrass is a summer annual forage for livestock and commercial hay producers who often need a fast growing forage with competitive forage quality. There has been a growing interest in teff as a forage crop because of its ability to produce higher biomass in a short time period during the growing season.
Water might be the Rodney Dangerfield of nutrients – it just doesn’t get any respect. We could use the latest edition of “Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle” as an example. Of the six classes of nutrients discussed in that resource, water is the last topic and the shortest chapter even though water makes up 99% of every molecule in an animal.
When planning a grazing strategy, it is important to carefully assess goals and objectives and then match those goals and objectives with the appropriate livestock. It is critical that the manager understand that not all livestock are created equal.
Assessing pasture forage production is a key step in planning harvest strategies and can also inform the manager on the status of wildlife habitat or other grassland values. Online resources, such as the free USDA Web Soil Survey, allow landowners to input the perimeters of a pasture or ranch while the program outputs production estimates based on soils and typical vegetation for the area.
Healthy grasslands are generally identified by the plant community. At the core of any plant community assessment is an inventory of native plants. When assessing a native plant community, you must consider both the number of native plants and the diversity of native plants.