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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
Ready to get a jump on weed and pest control? Keep these five things in order to spray safely.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]