Last month we talked about insecticide granules, systemic insecticides, and pest control sprays as ways to reclaim your home and lawn this summer from bugs that bother. Judging by the blog traffic, it’s a pretty hot topic; pests are, indeed, aptly named.
Poultry and beef are in competition in the grocery store, but on individual farms they are often quite compatible enterprises. One reason for this pertains to the litter generated in broiler production houses. Broiler litter (normally a combination of sawdust, wood shavings, or peanut hulls, plus poultry manure, feathers, and wasted feed), builds upon the […]
A thoughtful summer garden cooks up all kinds of delicious possibilities—and some without cooking at all. Keep reading for tips on how to grow delicious garden salads all summer long.
There’s something about a Sunday drive that seems to be genetically programmed into farmers. We take the long way home from church, from family breakfasts, or from a ball game just to see how our piece of the world is doing. My grandfather did it. My father did it. And now I find myself doing […]
If you’re like most homeowners, you take a fair bit of pride in your lawn and outdoor areas. And what’s not to love? Long days, beautiful lawns, comfortable chairs, a cozy fire pit—so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors this time of year. Until the mosquitoes move in.
As soon as the world sheds its dull gray for green, we at Ragan & Massey start looking ahead to a prolific crop of farm-fresh goodness. But mostly strawberries. Especially jams. Because strawberry jams are the best.
Most livestock producers understand the desirability of having forage legumes such as clovers and vetches present in pastures. As compared to grasses and non-leguminous forbs, biological nitrogen fixation and improved forage quality provided by legumes are major attributes. In addition, in some cases legumes can extend the growing season and increase forage yield. These are […]
Snout Nosed Beatles. Emerald Ash Borers. Lacy Bugs. No matter how elaborate the names, the fact of the matter remains: bugs are bugs. And they can wreak havoc on your home, your landscaping, and your sanity.
Weeds have a horrible reputation around these parts. Johnson grass, water hemp, pigweed, and so many others creep into fields, destroying yields, clogging harvesters, and sending pollen counts soaring. Modern herbicides and herbicide-resistant crops have changed how we combat weeds.
For every farm kid who leaves for college or other life adventure, you’ll have a parent, grandparent, or uncle that imparts a piece of advice or two. Mine had a recurrent theme. “Remember your roots,” they said. As if the seed stickers on the back of my truck weren’t a strong enough reminder.
Ready to get a jump on weed and pest control? Keep these five things in order to spray safely.
We often tout the foraging benefits of UF-Riata, a purebred diploid bahiagrass that is giving bermuda a run for its money. While it is true that UF-Riata is most commonly sown as a pasture grass, its deep root structure makes it ideal for another purpose: erosion control.
Welcome to the newest installment of A Job Well Done, by Ragan & Massey. This series of deep-dive advice articles, personally written by Ragan & Massey experts, will address everything you need to know to get better production out of your property. Topics will range from steps for Southern pasture establishment to best practices for mesquite […]
Each year, many cattlemen and other livestock producers purchase cool-season forage seed they intend to use in autumn plantings. For various reasons, some of this seed doesn’t get planted (the most common reason being dry weather at planting time, which happens fairly regularly in autumn in the Southeast). So when you have holdover seed, what […]
Welcome to the newest installment of A Job Well Done, by Ragan & Massey. This series of deep-dive advice articles, personally written by Ragan & Massey experts, will address everything you need to know to get better production out of your property. Topics will range from dealing with the weather to best practices for mesquite […]
In recent years, increases in the cost of fertilizer nutrients have caused cattlemen and other livestock producers to create and discover economical ways to provide nutrients for production of forage. Since it appears that fertilizer costs are not likely to decrease significantly in the foreseeable future, these methods are more important than ever when it […]
In “Weather to Make Your Production Decisions,” we’ll discuss how the weather has a direct impact on your success, and offer our thoughts on how you can minimize its negative impact.
With “Variety Not Stated” seed, there is no guarantee being made regarding the specific genetic constitution of the seed.
Evaluate the nutritional value of your pasture, and your animals will reap the benefits.
What, if anything, can be learned from simple examination of hay?
Overseeding your pasture with winter ryegrass is a cost- and time-effective way to ensure that your animals are supplied with nourishment in the early spring.
Wild animals have always felt free to visit pastures, hayfields (and various other farm crops) anytime they want. In fact, some wild animals even alter their range in order to access certain crops more easily or more frequently. Farmers, including livestock and hay producers, regularly have the experience of seeing birds and animals of many […]
A healthy, vigorous pasture can improve livestock gains and reduce feed costs. But growing pasture in the South and Southeast brings special challenges because growers must consider forage grass varieties, soil type, soil pH, fertility, weed and pest control, and water availability. Today, we’ll discuss the importance and specifics of irrigation and rotation. Should I […]
As compared to some forage crops, winter annuals (including annual ryegrass, small grains, annual clovers, and Brassicas) are relatively easy to establish and are generally dependable, but failures do occur.
Here are nine common reasons for stand failures or poor production in annual winter forage.
An adult deer can eat more than six pounds of food every day. So if your food plot isn’t producing, your coveted animals will go elsewhere. But planting a food plot isn’t always simple, and many who want to attract deer and other critters are hunters as opposed to farmers. Long story short, it’s important […]
Wildlife management has evolved greatly in recent years. Twenty-five years ago, the amount of acreage of wildlife food plots planted in the Southeast was much smaller than it is today. When such plantings were made, they usually consisted of cool-season annuals (often a small grain and/or annual ryegrass). These species are easy to establish and […]
When it comes to winter forage in the Southeast, it’s hard to argue with annual ryegrass. Widely grown in the southern U.S., ryegrass has become an important component for forage-based livestock diets, and it’s only becoming more popular. According to the University of Florida, more than 1 million hectares of annual ryegrass are grown in […]
Most plant species used in wildlife plantings are forage crops. Not everyone who owns property is interested in enhancing wildlife, but the extent to which food plots have been planted for wildlife has increased dramatically during the past 20 years. What is the objective that wildlife enthusiasts have in mind by making such plantings? Not […]
Livestock producers looking to add to their fall and winter grazing options should consider forage oats. This versatile forage crop provides numerous benefits to pastures that last far beyond the fall and winter grazing seasons. “Forage oats can be grown as a grain or forage,” says Ragan & Massey’s Mike Massey. “If producers are looking […]
When discussing the characteristics of a forage crop, whether with a scientist at a professional meeting or a cattleman at the local coffee shop, a phrase that often gets dropped is “and it’s a good reseeder.” This is often added as an afterthought, much like a car salesman might state, “and the tires are good” […]
No matter the size of your operation, effective herbicides and pesticide application can be vital to your success. Whether you’re in the sweltering southeast or the moderate northwest, you have to consider the elements when deciding when to spray. Get wet! The moisture from a heavy overnight dew provides plants with additional moisture, allowing them […]
Most cattlemen know that livestock can spread seeds by eating them, then depositing them in feces wherever they wander. This can be a problem! Cattle often place unwanted bahiagrass in Bermudagrass hayfields, introduce toxic endophyte-infected fescue into nontoxic fescue, and spread seed of many types of weeds into pastures of various types. However, livestock sometimes […]
A healthy, vigorous pasture can improve livestock gains and reduce feed costs. But growing pasture in the South and Southeast brings special challenges because growers must consider forage grass varieties, soil type, soil pH, fertility, weed and pest control, and water availability. Dr. Ann Blount, forage specialist at the University of Florida, offers some additional […]
Drag harrows (often referred to as chain harrows, spike harrows or spring-toothed harrows) were once widely used in connection with the planting of many different crops. Today, they are rarely used in connection with growing row crops or horticultural crops, but still have a place on many livestock farms. On small farms, drag harrows are […]
Drought is an annual problem on many livestock farms, typically occurring in summer or early autumn. Obviously, when drought occurs, pasture forage growth slows or stops and livestock may not have enough to eat. This can lead to significant problems as the animals seek alternatives. Numerous plant species are poisonous or can become poisonous under […]
A healthy, vigorous pasture can improve livestock gains and reduce feed costs. But growing pasture in the South and Southeast brings special challenges because growers must consider forage grass varieties, soil type, soil pH, fertility, weed and pest control, and water availability. Today, we’ll talk about pests, both of the green and other varieties. Control […]
In most situations, the most cost-efficient way to feed grazing animals is to provide them with access to pastures throughout as much of the year as possible. More than 60 forage species can be grown in the eastern portion of the U.S., and deciding which to plant in various areas on a farm is an […]
Every environment is actually a number of environments. Where there’s an inside, there’s an outside. Where there’s a lawn, there are probably trees or shrubs. Where there are ants, well, there might be fire ants. No insecticide is perfectly suited for all environments and pests, which is why Ragan & Massey offers Compare-N-Save®, a comprehensive […]
Most people, including cattlemen, don’t spend much time thinking about sunlight. They notice whether it’s a cloudy or sunny day, but thoughts about sunlight usually relate mainly to practical matters such as how warm the day will likely be, whether it’s likely to rain, or whether one needs to try to find his or her […]
How many times have you heard a cattleman make a statement like, “Well, I think I’ll go check the cows,” or “I try to check my cows at least once a day,” or something similar? Or maybe they begin a statement with the phrase, “When I was checking the cows. . . . ” It […]
A healthy, vigorous pasture can improve livestock gains and reduce feed costs. But growing pasture in the South and Southeast brings special challenges because growers must consider forage grass varieties, soil type, soil pH, fertility, weed control and water availability. Today, we’ll talk about determining soil fertility and what to do with your findings. To […]
Forage legumes have long been recognized as being beneficial in pastures and hayfields, but in recent years there has justifiably been heightened interest in them. Here are just a few reasons to consider growing these special plants. Nitrogen Fixation When associated with the proper type of bacteria, most legumes can obtain nitrogen from the air […]
Every rural property has its own specific needs when it comes to weed management. The weed treatment used by a gardening enthusiast might not work for a larger cow/calf operation or a property with row crops. It is safe to say that most properties need some sort of fence weed control, weed killer for lawns […]
If you live south of the Canadian River, chances are you have struggled with mesquite management on your property. But with the invasive plant spreading north and east due to a variety of weather factors, you’re no longer alone, as mesquite can now be found causing headaches in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, […]
County and regional extension agents are valuable sources of intel for every rural property owner, whether he or she is a veteran farmer, a newbie trying to start a vegetable garden, or a property owner in need of lawn-care advice. According to the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, extension agents provide “non-formal education […]
Johnsongrass, AKA Sorghum halepense, is a problem for property managers all over the world. And we mean “all over the world” in the most literal sense, because this invasive perennial grass is present on every continent but Antarctica. It’s resistant to most herbicides, shows strong cold and drought tolerance and can flourish in low-fertility soils. […]
With spring firmly entrenched, the outside temperatures are rapidly rising. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your soil is quite done hibernating. To ensure the success of anything you plant, we recommend getting out in the dirt and taking its temperature. It’s easier than you think! Get your hands dirty Optimum soil temperatures are a […]
Anyone with grazing animals understands that pasture management is important. But did you know that practicing smart grazing techniques can dramatically improve a horse’s health? According to The Horse, a quality pasture and optimal grazing standards can make all the difference in a horse’s health, especially if it is suffering from a metabolic disorder or […]
Did you know that you could help increase the world’s crop production just by planting some daisies, marigolds or other wildflowers around your property? It’s true. Wildflowers attract honeybees, which are nature’s most important pollinators. Any crop grower should be happy to see honeybees and other pollinators buzzing around the acreage, but until now, we’ve […]
Controlling invasive woody plants and broadleaf weeds can be a time-consuming job for landowners, no matter how large the property they manage. Luckily, Ragan & Massey now offers BRUSHTOX™ so hardworking landowners can spend less time on weed management and more time doing what they love. This highly effective herbicide controls more than 60 woody […]