Outside Hay Storage

FORAGING AHEAD WITH DR. DON BALL: OUTSIDE HAY STORAGE

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 […]

Trampling Clover Seed

FORAGING AHEAD With Dr. Don Ball: TRAMPLING CLOVER SEED

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 […]

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Hay Feeding Deserves Attention

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Hay Feeding Deserves Attention

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 […]

Overseeding

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Overseeding Winter Annuals – A Practice Worth Considering

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 […]

Key Steps In Overseeding Winter Annuals

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Key Steps In Overseeding Winter Annuals

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 […]

Information Determines Results With Dr. Don Ball

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Information Determines Results

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.

Winter Forages

Winter Forages For Southern Cattlemen: Your Top 3 Winter Forage Questions Answered

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 […]

RM43 Questions Answered

Your Top RM43 Questions Answered

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.

How To Spray RM43

Your Ragan & Massey Guide: How To Spray RM43

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.

Forage Crop Diversity

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Forage Crop Diversity Provides Benefits

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.

National Dairy Month

5 Ways To Celebrate National Dairy Month

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 […]

The Best Way To Get Rid of Bugs This Spring and Summer

The Best Way To Get Rid of Bugs This Spring and Summer

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.

Broiler Litter

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: Fertilizing Forages With Broiler Litter

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 […]

UF-Riata Springs Forward

UF-Riata Springs Forward

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 […]

5 Landscaping Tips To Repel Mosquitoes

5 Landscaping Tips To Repel Mosquitoes

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.

A Factor That Limits Legumes

Foraging Ahead With Dr. Don Ball: A Factor That Limits Legumes

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 […]

What You Need To Know About Herbicide Resistance

What You Need To Know About Herbicide-Resistance

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.

A Job Well Done - Steps for Southern Pasture

“A Job Well Done,” by Ragan & Massey: Five Steps for Southern Pasture

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 […]

Holdover Seed

Foraging Ahead with Dr. Don Ball: Holdover seed

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 […]

A Job Well Done -Mesquite

“A Job Well Done” by Ragan & Massey: Mesquite 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 dealing with the weather to best practices for mesquite […]

Foraging Ahead: Nutrients in Forage

Foraging Ahead with Dr. Don Ball: Getting the most out of forage nutrients

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 […]

Introducing “A Job Well Done,” the new expert-advice series by Ragan & Massey

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.

Irrigation and rotation tips by Ragan & Massey

Irrigation and rotation are keys to favorable forage

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 […]

Feeding seed to livestock

Foraging Ahead with Dr. Don Ball: The realities of feeding seed

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: Big uses on small properties

Foraging Ahead with Dr. Don Ball: Drag harrows aren’t a drag for the livestock farmer

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 […]

Productive Pastures: The dangers of drought

Foraging Ahead with Dr. Don Ball: Dry pasture can lead to poisoned livestock

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 […]

Legumes for productive pastures, by Ragan & Massey

Foraging Ahead with Dr. Don Ball: Consider Legumes For Better Pasture Production

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 […]