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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
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?
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]