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An orange plastic hoop placed around a portion of tall grass on a range to provide a measurement.

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure: Range Record Keeping

Range record keeping helps detect and demonstrate landscape changes that have a direct impact on your ability to maintain or grow your herd.

A patch of western wheatgrass with ergot fungus growing throughout.

Ergot in Western Wheatgrass and the Potential Effects for Winter Grazing

2019 has been a year fraught with challenges for ranchers across South Dakota. Abundant precipitation is usually a blessing, however, wet conditions coupled with a cool spring followed by warmer temperatures has caused another problem across the rangelands of South Dakota: ergot poisoning.

A group of cattle grazing on crop residue.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems

An integrated crop-livestock system can provide an alternative management strategy that benefits producer’s income, soil health, and the environment—all while increasing production.

A patty of dung with several holes in it and grass growing through it. It has been broken down by dung beetles.

Dung Beetles and Other Insects Can Help Breakdown Dung and Control Pests

This article summarizes findings related to dung beetle ecology and how dung beetles advance the breakdown of dung pats.

A male and femail dung beetle rolling a ball of dung in a pasture. Courtesy: Beverly Skinner/USFWS (CC BY 2.0)

Managing Livestock for Dung Beetles and Other Beneficial Species

South Dakota researchers have taken a closer look at the function of dung beetles in Eastern South Dakota over the last few years. This article summarizes findings related to management of livestock grazing and chemical pesticides in relation to dung beetle and insect community health.

A herd of cattle grazing near a pond on an open range.

Nitrates and Livestock Water Quality

Nitrate poisoning is something we think about with forages such as millet, oats, corn, sorghum, sudan, kochia and others that have been fertilized or if there is a drought, but water can also be a contributing factor.

Rolling, drought-stressed pasture with new, green growth emerging in early fall.

Be Careful Grazing the Green this Fall

With fall grazing on the horizon, nearly all of South Dakota is still experiencing drought conditions. Regardless of where your ranch is located, a rancher must be very careful when grazing the fall green-up of cool-season grasses.

A green front-end-loader pulling a hay mower with a flushing bar.

Haying With Wildlife in Mind

Anyone who has spent time cutting hay knows that hayland can be a magnet for wildlife in late spring and early summer. Hay fields are often considered an “ecological trap” for wildlife; that is, they appear to be high quality habitat for nesting or feeding due to tall, dense grass and legumes, but often lead to increased mortality once harvesting is under way.

A field of yellow sweet clover in bloom.

Yellow Sweet Clover: Information and Management

Sweet clover is an opportunistic plant that is going to be abundant in pastures and hay fields when growing conditions are favorable, ideally for two consecutive years. Although it can cause problems, it is valuable to wildlife and pollinators and is a nutritious forage source.

Round hay bales loaded on transport trailers.

Haul the Feed or the Cows

Reduction in pasture forage availability may require producers to decide between hauling feed or hauling cows. Learn how to decide which option is best for your operation.