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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 rancher inspecting the water quality of a small stock pond.

How Do Sulfates in Water Affect Livestock Health?

Poor-quality water will cause an animal to drink less. As a result, they also consume less forage and feed, which leads to weight loss, decreased milk production and lower fertility.

A flock of white sheep grazing in a small pasture.

Sheep Breeds

Everyone has heard the fairytale “Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?” but what about the double-coated California Red, the multi-colored Katahdin sheep with hair, or the East Friesian dairy ewe that produces over 1,100 pounds of milk a year? Sheep come in different shapes, sizes, and colors and all of them provide different functions and uses for producers. These can range from meat, wool, and milk production or a combination of characteristics.

small group of cattle swath grazing pasture

Swath Grazing: Extending the Grazing Season

One proposed way to cut fall/winter feeding costs is to extend the grazing season and allow the livestock to harvest the resource instead of relying on mechanical harvest.

a father and son inspecting a show goat in a competition.

Bringing Home Your 4-H Goat Project

Sales and transport is a stressful time for any animal. Reducing stress factors due to transitions start before the actual purchase of your new project. Managing proper nutrition and disease management are just a couple factors to help your project get off to a great start.

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.

open rangeland with smooth bromegrass growing throughout

Smooth Bromegrass Grazing Management

Smooth bromegrass is a cool-season introduced grass with an advanced root system that tolerates temperature extremes and drought exceptionally well.

black angus cattle grazzing in pasture

South Dakota Grazing Management Practices: Current & Future

Grazing land occupies 54% of rural land and accounts for a key portion of land use in South Dakota. Many grassland problems can be avoided by using efficient grazing management practices.

a sprawling green plant with flowering yellow heads

Sweet Clover Poisoning

Hay that contains sweet clover can be an excellent feed as long as the dicoumarol level is known and feeding management is used to prevent poisoning.