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Group of calves grazing in a fenced-in area.

Weaning Calves on Cover Crops

What do we do if it is time to wean calves, but the pen isn’t ready? That can be a real concern during wet fall seasons, such as 2019. Putting calves into muddy pen conditions is far from desirable, but holding calves on the cows deep into fall increases the risk of adverse winter weather and tends to pull body condition off the cows.

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 large square bale of Alfalfa hay that has been put up for storage.

Understanding Hay Inoculants and Preservatives on ‘Dry’ Hay

As haying season approaches, producers across South Dakota will begin preparing to get out the baler. In recent years, it has been quite difficult for many producers to put up quality, dry hay. This often results in growers considering using inoculants and hay preservatives.

A field of flowering alfalfa.

Precautions for Grazing Weevil-Infested Alfalfa

Alfalfa weevil populations are high this year, creating challenges for producers. Questions have arisen on how to get some value out of the forage by grazing it rather than putting it up for hay.

A heavily tilled field showing signs of severe topsoil loss due to erosion. Next to it, there is a no-till field with no noticeable signs of erosion.

Multiple Rounds of Severe Weather Bring Heavy Rainfall, High Winds, and Soil Erosion

A combination of tillage, no residue, and lack of crop canopy can lead to severe erosion and topsoil loss in the face of extreme weather patterns in the spring. The most effective strategy for producers to adapt to these extreme events is to improve soil health.

cows eating silage

What’s Important to Know About Silage Additives & Inoculants? 

Corn is suited to preservation as silage. Silage additives can be used to remedy deficiencies such as lack of sufficient population of bacteria to support adequate fermentation, and low levels of fermentable carbohydrates.

A sprawling, planted field with young crops emerging

Fall Cover Crops Boost Soil Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Which Can Lead To Reduced Inputs

Fall cover crops provide multiple benefits to producers. These benefits include pathogen and pest protection, drought protection, weed control, reduced soil erosion, nutrient acquisition and retention, increased soil organic matter, and conservation of soil water by improvement of soil structure that increases infiltration and water holding capacity.

Freshly cut hay in a field.

Determining Hay Prices

Before pricing forages, producers will want to have a good understanding about the cost of growing a ton of hay, alfalfa or straw.

Hay with a brown, carmelized color.

Minimizing Hay Storage Loss From Heating or Fires

Successful hay storage is essential to preserving high quality forage, while ensuring desired performance from livestock and deterring economic losses from unwanted hay storage fires.

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.