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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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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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Most of us are very familiar with the agronomic advantages of endophyte-infected tall fescue. In short, endophyte-infected tall fescue thrives through a variety of environmental challenges most grasses wouldn’t tolerate, including drought stress, overgrazing and insect pressure.

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Forage programs can be a great way to diversify and feed a beef cattle herd, but ensuring the forage program is being maximized to its full potential can be tricky. 

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