Grazing pressure refers to the extent to which pasture forage is being utilized at a given time. This is a function of stocking rate; i.e. the number of grazing animals that have access to a pasture. For example, if 30 cows have access to 60 acres of pasture, the stocking rate during that period of […]
It is getting close to the time of year that’s more precious to hunters than any other – hunting season. For most experienced hunters a food plot is a must. Food plots not only draw game and wildlife to your hunting ground, they help herds stay healthy and control population numbers. Even though hunting season doesn’t start until […]
Drought often limits pasture forage availability and sharply reduces hay yields on many farms, which increases the amount of hay or other stored feed needed during the cooler months of the year. However, stockpiling (which simply refers to allowing forage to accumulate in a pasture to provide grazing at a later time) can be quite […]
There are several good reasons for growing forage legumes when feasible. These include biological nitrogen fixation, possible extension of the grazing season, increased forage yield (especially compared to grasses receiving little or no nitrogen fertilizer), and improved forage quality. Factors to consider in selecting a legume to plant can include producer objectives, soil types, sites, and grass species present. No one legume is right for every […]
Weeds rank as one of the major factors that limit productivity of forage crops. Perhaps the best definition of a weed is simply “a plant out of place.” Most hayfields, and especially most pastures, contain many plant species that are out of place and are unwanted. Weeds compete with desirable plants for nutrients, moisture, sunlight, […]
Buying grass seed can be confusing. There are numerous blends for sun or shade and the varieties of seed types seem endless. You want your lawn to be healthy, green and luxuriously thick but you don’t want to waste your money buying the wrong seed. We think our Mayberry Grass Seed is the best you can […]
Year after year meteorologists and farmers predict the upcoming winter will be worse than the last – and it turns out to be accurate most of the time! But no matter if the winter or extremely harsh or mild, it always poses a risk to your livestock. The best way to prepare for the worst […]
A winter pasture, full of annual forages such as small grains and annual ryegrass, benefits small farms with easy-to-grow, highly-nutritious forage while saving money, time and effort. It is no wonder that more and more farmers across the United States are adopting winter grazing habits for cattle, sheep, horses and goats. Planting a winter pasture […]
When it comes to winter forage in the Southeast, it’s hard to argue with annual ryegrass. It is a quick-growing, non-spreading bunch grass that is a reliable, versatile performer almost anywhere in the United States, but especially the southern U.S.
Photo Credit: Marion Barnes. One of the challenges faced by a cattleman or other producer of grazing animals is assessing the productivity of pastures. The reason is that grazing animals “eat the evidence” (i.e. they eat the pasture forage). But a forage-livestock producer at least knows the size of the pasture area and how many […]
Ragan and Massey’s Prine seed offers the best in commercially available ryegrass varieties from the outstanding University of Florida ryegrass breeding program. These high-yield, rust- and disease-resistant tetraploid varieties deliver proven results. You shouldn’t have to second-guess when you need to plant a winter pasture. We believe Prine offer the best combination of quality and […]
University budgets reveal that fertilizer usually accounts for 40 percent or more of the cost of producing forage, and N alone can account for 20 to 40 percent of the cost of producing grass forages. The extent to which a livestock producer is able to minimize fertilizer expenses may mean the difference between profit and […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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” […]
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 […]