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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 dog eating out of a bowl.

Pet Food & Pet Treats

In South Dakota the Department of Agriculture Feed & Animal Remedy Program is the agency that oversees the manufacturing, licensing and labeling of animal feeds and remedies. Local foods producers interested in selling pet foods or pet treats need to be in compliance with this program.

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 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.

two producers in a pasture with a cowherd

Rotational Grazing Benefits: South Dakota Producer Perceptions

To better understand producer perceptions on rotational grazing, we sent out 1,500 surveys to South Dakota ranchers inquiring about adoption status and perceptions of rotational grazing.