It has been known for centuries that crop rotation is a highly desirable agronomic practice, even if the rotation involves only row crops. Benefits that can result from this practice include: (1) interruption of the life cycles of diseases, harmful insects, and nematodes; (2) more efficient control of weeds as well as reduced weed […]
Agronomists, seed company representatives, and others often mention the importance of decisions pertaining to seed selection and purchase. Most forage/livestock producers would say they agree with this line of thinking. However, it is easy to forget about this (or, more likely, not give it as much attention as it deserves) when actually making a seed […]
There are major differences among animal species with regard to how they graze. Cattle graze by hooking their tongues around forage, gripping it between the tongue and lower incisor teeth, and then tearing it from the plants. Sheep, goats, and horses bite off forage much as humans might take a bite out of an apple, […]
Some highly useful forage crops can be toxic in certain situations. The photograph above shows a field of sorghum-sudan hybrid, a fast-growing summer annual grass, which can provide good yields of nutritious forage. However, it is one of the forage crops that can cause prussic acid (also called hydrocyanic or HCN) poisoning. Other species in […]
A key to profitable livestock production is to minimize the need for hay or other stored feed. Use of various techniques to extend the availability of pasture forage and thus keep animals grazing as long as possible is highly desirable on most farms. However, most producers will need to provide hay or some other stored feed at certain […]
Good grazing management is one of the keys to having a profitable forage-livestock program. There are numerous benefits associated with grazing management, but regulating pasture forage height should be a major objective. Grazing too closely will result in less forage production and excess plant stress (some forage crops are much more tolerant of close grazing than others). Undergrazing is not discussed as […]
Some terms associated with forage-livestock production are unique. Here are a few that are often used, along with definitions or explanations of each. Knowing what these terms mean can help a person better understand discussions of various aspects of forage-livestock agriculture. Alkaloids- A large group of complex compounds that contain nitrogen and occur as by-products of plant biochemical processes, […]
In recent years, fertilizer prices have increased. Budgets prepared by university agricultural economists indicate that fertilizer cost associated with growing grass is typically 50 to 60 percent of the cost of producing beef cattle. Unfortunately, it appears that the cost of commercial fertilizer is not likely to decline much anytime soon. Producers who feel they have limited funds to spend […]
Precipitation is a must for many lawn and garden tasks. It helps moisturize a dry lawn, gets plants growing fast, is necessary to activate many fertilizers and come winter, provides insulation for dormant plants. But when it comes to applying herbicides like RM43, rain and snow won’t do the application any favors. Dry Weather is Essential […]
Grazing management is an extremely important topic that deserves serious consideration by any profit-oriented livestock producer. There are numerous benefits associated with good grazing management, including (but not limited to) the following.
It’s finally the off-season and you’ve waited a long time to put up the tractor keys in favor of a shotgun or bow. But before you settle in your tree stand, you may want to consider planting one more acre. A nutritious, palatable food plot attracts deer, turkeys and other game, while helping to maintain […]
A relatively minor problem or need generally have a minimal economic impact. However, collectively, small problems or needs can make a substantial difference.
Prine. It’s Ragan & Massey’s proprietary seed blend that offers the best in commercially available ryegrass varieties from the outstanding University of Florida ryegrass breeding program. Our high-yield, rust- and disease-resistant tetraploid varieties deliver proven results for nutritious winter forage. Farmers and ranchers from across the country have long used Prine for pastures that can take the pressure of grazing long into the winter. We get a lot […]
After World War II, commercial fertilizer came into widespread use in agriculture, including on pastures and hayfields. While no one enjoyed paying fertilizer bills, for a long time it was relatively inexpensive (or at least affordable), in addition to being quite convenient to use to stimulate forage growth. Things have changed. Commercial fertilizer is much […]
Benefits of legumes or legume/grass mixtures can include biological nitrogen fixation, higher forage yield, more favorable distribution of forage growth, and higher forage quality that results in better animal performance. In pasture situations, clovers are by far the most commonly used type of forage legume. Depending on climatic conditions, soils, and sites, a livestock producer […]
Farmers across the southern United States depend on winter grazing to provide a healthy diet for livestock until spring. Why? Winter pastures help stretch stockpiles of hay, saving farmers money and time by allowing cattle, sheep, horses and goats to graze far beyond the normal growing season. So now that you’re on board with putting in a winter pasture, how do you ensure your […]
For those that love to hunt (and enthusiastically wait for deer season all year) there are a lot of factors that need to come into play to make the season the best it can be including producing a quality herd. Food plots provide necessary nutrition for deer, long into the winter. But food plots also work with […]
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 […]
It’s hard to think about preparing for the scarcity winter when late-summer is so abundant. Fortunately, our forefathers learned long ago the importance of planning ahead for the long, winter months. Taking steps now for a winter forage pasture means your livestock will have supplemental feed all winter long that’s affordable and nutritious. And, hands down the best seed for winter forage is Ragan and Massey’s Prine Tetraploid. Prine […]
Winter grazing offers many benefits, like 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 helps stretch your stockpiles of hay, requiring less to buy or less time in the field to harvest. And, it […]
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, […]
Broomsedge, which is actually a native grass and not a sedge, has become more prevalent in many pastures in the eastern United States in recent years. This is undesirable, because this plant provides relatively little nutritional value to livestock. Even worse, it competes with desirable plants for nutrients, water, sunlight, and space. Reasons for Encroachment […]
It’s no secret that we love to talk about how awesome RM43 is, but that’s because we are proud of this product and what it can do for the back 40 or the backyard. It is one of our favorite things! Here’s why we love RM43 and you will too.
If there was an “All Star List” for forage crops, ryegrass would have to be on it. Ryegrass can be grown in many areas, it has the potential to produce a good forage yield, it is easy to establish, and it provides excellent nutrition for forage-consuming animals. Given these attributes, it is not surprising that […]
October 12 is National Farmer’s Day Fall has arrived. It’s the time of year when farmers may not necessarily be able to take a break, but at least they can take a breath and be proud of the hard work they’ve done all spring and summer. Fall is harvest time, when all the planting, the […]
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 […]
You’ve put hours and hours into your garden tilling, planting, weeding and watering. The last thing you want are insects coming in to ruin it all.
Every year it’s the same thing – you tell yourself, your spouse and your neighbor that you’re going to get your lawn in tip-top condition – but you end up with a subpar showpiece. Drought, weeds and insects can quickly turn a healthy and vibrant lawn into one in need of resuscitation. Here are five […]
It’s been a long, cold winter, and we’re dreaming of spring in the most delicious ways. Whether you are prepping your spring garden or counting down until the opening day of your farmer’s market, if you’re like us here at Ragan & Massey, you’ll want to enjoy spring’s bounty throughout the entire season. Freezing or […]
Flooding of pastures or hayfields occurs with regularity in some or many areas in most years, especially in fields located near creeks or rivers. Obviously, there are limits to the amount of flooding a forage stand can tolerate. Therefore, it is common for questions regarding this topic to arise. In particular, this often occurs when […]
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 […]
Besides a side at the Thanksgiving dinner table, there are many unexpected uses for corn. Açai berries, broccoli rabe, and blueberries may be superfoods according to dietitians and nutritionists, but when it comes to a truly versatile food product that has become a staple in most of our modern lives, all signs point to corn.
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 […]
We’re sure you’ve heard and read about other seed companies touting their seeds as “pre-inoculated” or “coated.” Inoculants, strains of naturally-occurring soil bacterial that improve nitrogen availability to a plant as it grows, can be beneficial; however, more and more of these “coatings” advertised by seed companies are really just corn starch or talc with […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A thoughtful summer garden cooks up all kinds of delicious possibilities—and some without cooking at all. Keep reading for tips on how to grow delicious garden salads all summer long.
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 […]