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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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It is hard to believe, but turnout time is here. There is no better feeling for a cattle producer and his cattle when the gates are opened and the cattle are turned loose to graze for the summer. For cattle producers, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

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As ruminants, cattle eat a lot of forage in a short time then chew the cud and process the feed more thoroughly. They have preferences in forage plants and certain behavioral patterns when grazing.

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In my nine years of range management graduate studies at three major universities in the West, never did I encounter the term “stock density.” That’s pretty amazing considering that we now acknowledge stock density as one of the most important tools in grazing management.

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Stocker operators have a tough job in the beef business. A tough, but rewarding experience working through cattle with varied amounts of risk, hoping to add pounds with limited inputs – if Mother Nature is in good humor and provides needed forages for added weight gain.

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The hot, dry Arkansas summer last year affected cattle farmers across Arkansas. But thanks to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Illinois River Sub-Basin and Eucha-Spavinaw Lake Watershed Initiative, Craig and Jay Oliphnant’s operation has been able to effectively weather the drought.

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With the high price of hay this past winter, many cow-calf operators were scrambling for ways to reduce their winter feeding costs.

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