Hay is the most commonly used stored feed on livestock farms in the USA, with a total annual value of billions of dollars. Most hay (especially hay intended for use with beef cattle herds) is packaged in large round bales and stored for several months before it is fed. Round balers are popular because they […]
Winter annual forages such as the small grains (rye, wheat, and oats), annual ryegrass, and several Brassica species (including turnips, rape, and kale) benefit many livestock farms. These species are widely adapted, easy to grow, and produce highly nutritious forage. In addition, they make most of their growth during the cooler months of the year […]
If it’s getting harder and harder to make time to fish, remember that it’s not only good for your health, it’s good for your mind, your family, and the environment. For reel. At Ragan & Massey, we’re always looking for another reason to head outdoors, and you certainly don’t have to twist our arms when […]
Duck hunters, too, are under a pressure of their own. The number of days left in duck season are numbered–and so are the chances of bagging a bird or two. That said, it’s not over until the proverbial woman of generous proportions has warbled her last notes–and it would appear that roasted duck is a […]
With some honest assessment, anyone can follow these steps to success. Here’s a SMART example of a hunter trying to boost the quail population on his small farm and getting marvelous results. Follow the acronym to see how it worked.
Despite many meteorologists and farmers already predicting some seriously cold arctic blasts this winter, many livestock owners will likely find themselves frantically rushing around trying to save the herd when the mercury falls too far, too fast.
Forage programs vary greatly, even on adjacent farms. Reasons include that soils and other resources vary, the objectives and inclinations of producers may not be the same, and the species, classes, and breeds of livestock differ from one farm to another. However, despite diversity regarding the details, forage producers who have the most profitable forage […]
Most of the cost of raising livestock is associated with feeding them. Pasture forage is generally the least expensive source of nutrition, which provides an incentive for producers to seek options to extend grazing to the extent possible. Using warm-season and cool-season forages, using annuals to provide grazing when perennials are not productive, and stockpiling […]
At Ragan and Massey, we get a lot of questions about how to fertilize for food plots: how much, how often, when to start, what to use. In an ideal world, you would have plenty of time to test your soil before planting, but this is rarely the case for most people, who often don’t […]
It is shiny reddish brown, less than a quarter inch long, and it has six legs. You may not know fire ants when you see one, but you certainly will once it bites you.
Annual ryegrass is often planted on the dormant pastures of warm-season forages, especially bahiagrass and bermudagrass. However, other warm-season forage crops including dallisgrass, crabgrass, broadleaf signalgrass, and sericea lespedeza can also be overseeded. The dependability and value of this practice has been thoroughly verified by university research, and thousands of livestock producers have benefitted from […]
It’s the time of year when we start fielding a lot of questions surrounding the best ways to establish and maintain a food plot. Most of our customers are surprised at how easy it can be to prep, plant, fertilize, and grow.
During a recent review of forage crop planting recommendations, it occurred to me that such guidelines have a lot in common with driving directions. If we decide to take a trip to a place we have never (or rarely) been before and don’t have a map or GPS unit, we will need some help.
Any successful Southern cattleman knows that their real business isn’t cattle; it’s growing grass and then converting that grass into beef. Knowing that better forages make better profits for beef producers, all of us at Ragan and Massey go to great lengths to bring the best forage seeds to fields and pastures. In addition to this, it’s also important to know and understand […]
Whether you are entrenched in the agricultural industry or simply like its ability to put food on your table, droughts can have a significant impact on your everyday life.
One of the best rewards in the fall is being able to trade early mornings in the tractor for early mornings in the treestand. We know we’re not alone as we gladly switch our work jeans for camo and blaze orange; harvest-turned-hunting season is one of our favorite times of the year.
As if we needed another reason for an extra scoop of ice cream this summer, June marks National Dairy Month. Originally created as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way for chain stores to match peak milk production by increasing demand, June has become the time of year to celebrate dairy and the dairy […]
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 […]
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.
What, if anything, can be learned from simple examination of hay?
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]