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A herd of sheep foraging on leafy spurge in a grassland.

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

A small black bug with tan margins on the wings. This insect is resting on a blade of grass that is green with white spots.

Black Grass Bug Activity Expected in Coming Weeks

Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.

Two dandelions side by side. The left has a bee foraging on it. The right has a hover fly foraging on it..

Why Those Dandelions in Your Yard Aren’t So Bad

While research has shown that pollinators, specifically honey bees, can’t survive on dandelion pollen alone, this doesn’t mean that the dandelions aren’t still important for pollinators.

Field of mixed cover crops containing oats.

Cover Crop Considerations for 2020

Producers across South Dakota are harvesting small grains. These crops provide an excellent window for adding a cover crop into your rotation.

Grassland with a large amount of dried brush and fuel for burning.

Removing Young Trees From Grasslands Will Save Money and Effort

Volunteer trees can hinder the development of desirable wildlife habitat and livestock resources. Early control of volunteer woody species is the simplest and most cost-effective option for maintaining open grassland habitats.

A shlterbelt near a grassland with several volunteer trees growing in it.

Removing Mature Shelterbelts From Grasslands

Under what circumstances would removal of mature shelterbelts be warranted? This is a common question often asked in wildlife and conservation circles.

A yearling heifer grazes on Canada thistle after a mid-October snowfall.

Plan Now to Control Weeds With Grazing Next Season

Livestock will graze Canada goldenrod, Canada thistle and perennial sow thistle. At certain times of the year, these plants have crude protein, total digestible nutrients, and invitro dry matter digestibility concentrations similar to alfalfa and other common forages.

Field with field peas and blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Weed Control: Pulse Crops

Weed competition can cause significant yield reduction in pulse crops. Pulse crops are weak competitors with weeds, therefore planning an effective weed control program is one of the keys to profitable production.

Rangeland covered with dense thickets of maturing cedar trees.

Cedar Trees and Rangeland Loss

The issue of cedar tree invasion into South Dakota’s rangelands tends to be a regional conversation. There is generally broad agreement among most resource professionals that these trees are in fact changing our landscape in a negative way.

Flowering Canada thistle distributing seed in a pasture.

Dense Seeding Can Reduce Canada Thistle in Planted Grasslands

Canada thistle is a common invader in grassland plantings. Over the past decade, researchers and land managers have experimented with controlling Canada thistle in planted grasslands through increasing competition from desirable plants.