If you’ve accidentally gotten into poison ivy once, once is enough. This little plant’s oils, called urushiol, cause painful, itchy rashes that can last one to three weeks. While the rash itself isn’t contagious, poison ivy’s oils can take years to dissipate, so if it gets on clothes and gloves, it can cause multiple reactions. […]
I saw another dandelion yesterday. That makes 123 for the year, and it’s April.
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 […]
Dear Driver, I see you up ahead, behind that slow-moving tractor on this otherwise desolate county road. You’re on your cell phone, likely complaining that you’re going to be late for Something Very Important because Some Idiot Farmer took the paved road to the field.
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 […]
This is the year your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood. All it takes is a little research, a little elbow grease, and a little restraint. Keep reading to learn our secret to lush, green grass.
Flooding of pastures or hayfields occurs with regularity in some or many areas in most years, especially in fields located near creeks or rivers. Obviously, there are limits to the amount of flooding a forage stand can tolerate. Therefore, it is common for questions regarding this topic to arise. In particular, this often occurs when […]
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.
Livestock producers spend a lot of time taking care of their animals, but the idea of giving the animals a job to do usually doesn’t come to mind. I am referring to the “trampling” or “walk in” approach to establishing clover. I first observed this technique during a trip to New Zealand in 1988, in […]
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 […]
Every time we write a blog here at Ragan & Massey, we hope you take away something useful. For Thanksgiving, we want to give you something we hope you keep and share. Today we give our gratitude.
Besides a side at the Thanksgiving dinner table, there are many unexpected uses for corn. Açai berries, broccoli rabe, and blueberries may be superfoods according to dietitians and nutritionists, but when it comes to a truly versatile food product that has become a staple in most of our modern lives, all signs point to corn.
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 […]
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 […]
Another hunting draws near and with it hot coffee, a ready truck, and the long wait for sunrise. Those of us longtime hunters have learned a lesson or two from the blind and tree stand. Here are seven we thought of this morning.
Fields selected for overseeding should not be excessively wet or subject to flooding. A soil test should be taken from each field, and any needed lime should be applied several months before planting. Most winter annuals are best suited to a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Any legume seed planted should be inoculated with […]
Harvest season is a grueling time of year for farmers and their families. Here’s how to reap the benefits while giving stress the shaft.
Interest in growing clovers as companion species to forage grasses has increased in recent years. Reasons include that in many situations they can extend the growing season and/or increase total forage yield of pastures.
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.
RM43 is a powerful weed killer used in a variety of applications, whether you are preserving your driveway, your barns, your fence rows, or your tennis courts. There’s a lot to know about this popular product, so we’ve gathered some of the most common questions—and answers—here for your reference.
Whether treating for specific plants or specific areas with RM43, uniform application of herbicide is essential for effective weed control. Varying the rate of application or dilution ratios even slightly can result in either a poor result or unnecessary waste of product—and both are a misuse of time, money, and effort.
In some situations, striving for uniformity is highly desirable, but development of a forge program for a livestock farm generally doesn’t fall into this category. In fact, planting and growing a diverse crops on such a farm, and in many cases in the same field, offers some distinct advantages to your forage.
Every year a few hay producers have part or even all of their hay destroyed by fire. There is no way to totally eliminate the possibility of a hay fire, but several precautions can be taken that are helpful in reducing the likelihood of such an event.
It turns out there is a lot to love about mulch. Aside from clearly defining a beautiful and functional yard, mulching can help conserve and nourish surrounding soil, preserve moisture, and protect plants and trees from mower, trimmer, and insect damage.
I remember being six years old, riding alongside my grandfather in the old red tractor, watching my father and uncle behind me pulling bales of hay from the bailer to the hay rack. It was a sweaty job even without the summer heat, which was there in force, and yet there they were, whistling and […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]