How can you get more cows on the same amount of grass? South Dakota State University specialist has answers for beef producers.
Well, maybe it is not quite that bad but there is certainly not much here in the way of “new or different ways of thinking.” So think about it as a list of things to NOT do or even think about at least until you have finished building 100 paddocks.
via Beef Producer
The market may be telling beef producers that it’s time to amp up the herd. But pastureland resources are a limiting factor for many, says Warren Rusche, South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist.
Make better use of existing pasture
3. Improve grazing distribution. Improved water access or moving mineral feeding sites encourage cattle to find underutilized areas.
4. Match grass growth patterns with grazing pressure. Utilizing pastures at the correct stage of production.
Reducing Demands on Pasture
5. Early weaning of calves. Early weaning saves the forage that the calves graze and reduces the nutrient requirements of the cows.
6. Supplemental feeding on pasture. Substitute harvested feeds or by-products for grazed plants.
7. Reduce/eliminate pasture entirely (drylotting or semi-confinement). Use low-cost, properly supplemented crop residues based diets to replace summer grazing.
Develop New Grazing Resources
8. Annual forage options. Crops such as small grains, millets, and sorghums can be planted as part of a crop rotation with grazing livestock used as the harvest method.
9. Cover crops. Cover crops are especially useful to extend the grazing season into the fall.
10. Crop residues. Vastly underutilized feed resource in the crop growing regions of the Midwest and Plains.
“This list is by no means the last word and there are certainly other potential solutions,” Rusche notes. “These are simply a starting point in the conversation for ranchers that are searching for alternative systems to expand or maintain their business.”
A Handbook for Ranch Managers. In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.
You might also be interested in the supplement to this Handbook: Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual.