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Grazing

Find out how to improve livestock production while maintaining the value of the soil and land.

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In the Intermountain West, the sagebrush steppe ecosystem is a crucial resource for the livestock industry because it provides a large portion of forages for grazing livestock. Sagebrush steppe also provides important habitat for hundreds of wildlife species.

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Grazing residual affects everything in the pasture. What is residual? Residual is the living plant material remaining after a grazing event. Residual is often confused with residue, which is the dead plant material on the soil surface. While residue definitely has its benefits, residual is everything.

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Balancing your forage resources is critical to the long-term profitability of your ranch. The key here is ensuring stocking rate does not exceed carrying capacity, as overgrazing can cause long-term reductions in forage production, leading to decreased livestock production.

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At the Eliason family ranch in Holbrook, Idaho, Brayden and Allison Eliason are checking first-calf heifers on a February morning last year when they find a stillborn calf with a cleft palate.

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On most ranches, average cow size has increased significantly over the past three decades as a result of genetic selection. These changes do not come without consequences to forage intake.

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For the majority of us, June is the most productive month of the year for forage production. Generally speaking, we should expect 60 to 70 percent of our annual forage to be produced by the end of the month, which makes June so critical for timely forage management.

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