Virtually all livestock producers know that overgrazing (i.e. grazing a pasture closer than is normally recommended) is detrimental. However, it seems that many people only have a vague (or at least incomplete) understanding of exactly why overgrazing is harmful. Here are some reasons. Reduced Forage Production– Leaves are the food production factory of a plant. […]
It takes a lot of knowledge to grow a lush, green, healthy lawn and beautiful, blooming flowers. For example, gardeners need to know when to plant, reseed, fertilize, mow, apply weed treatments and treat any diseases. Luckily technology has caught up with landscaping with these great apps specifically dedicated to helping both homeowners and professionals […]
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 […]
When choosing a seed for your livestock’s forage-based diet, look no further than Prine. Ragan & Massey’s Prine™ Tetraploid is the most commercially available ryegrass variety developed by the outstanding University of Florida ryegrass breeding program. This high-yield, rust- and disease-resistant tetraploid variety withstands cold temperatures to improve forage yields.
No matter if your lawn is more weed than grass, you have hard-to-kill brush that’s taking over a pasture or the grass and weeds along your fence row is out-of-control – there’s a Ragan & Massey product dedicated to solving your specific problem.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Millions of dollars worth of hay are sold in the United States each year. Successful hay transactions result mostly from application of “common sense,” but discussion of some points that should be considered is provided in this article.
I saw another dandelion yesterday. That makes 123 for the year, and it’s April.
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 […]
Dear Driver, I see you up ahead, behind that slow-moving tractor on this otherwise desolate county road. You’re on your cell phone, likely complaining that you’re going to be late for Something Very Important because Some Idiot Farmer took the paved road to the field.
Winter annual forages such as the small grains (rye, wheat, and oats), annual ryegrass, and several Brassica species (including turnips, rape, and kale) benefit many livestock farms. These species are widely adapted, easy to grow, and produce highly nutritious forage. In addition, they make most of their growth during the cooler months of the year […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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” […]
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 […]
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 […]
In most situations, the most cost-efficient way to feed grazing animals is to provide them with access to pastures throughout as much of the year as possible. More than 60 forage species can be grown in the eastern portion of the U.S., and deciding which to plant in various areas on a farm is an […]
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 […]