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Black angus cattle feeding in a feedlot.

What Goes Into Calculating Yardage?

Yardage cost is the non-feed cost per head for every day that an animal is fed harvested feed in some form of confinement. Yardage is usually associated with calves and yearlings in the feedlot, but this concept can apply to drylotted or wintering cows as well.

A herd of cattle grazing a vast rangeland in west-river South Dakota.

Rotational Grazing Improves Stocking Capacity and Ranch Profitability

Livestock stocking rate is considered as one of the most important decisions that ranchers can make, as heavy stocking rate causes grassland degradation and adversely impact the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services.

A small group of cattle grazing a vast, open range as the sun sets in the background.

Using Increased Longevity to Reduce Annual Cow Cost

When evaluating annual cow cost, feed rises to the top of the list. Feed cost is an important area to consider; however, have you evaluated the cost of incorporating replacement heifers into the cowherd?

a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.

Corn earlobe being stored in a bunker for later use as cattle feed.

Valuing High-Moisture Corn and Earlage

A key advantage to using commodities that meet standard specifications and are frequently traded is that it is very easy to establish an economic value that is accepted by most users. The marketplace sets the value of corn, and other feedstuffs on a daily basis, provided those products meet some set of standard specifications.

A group of brown cattle foraging in a green field.

Prussic Acid Poisoning

As the first frost date approaches, producers often have concerns about the risk of prussic acid poisoning in livestock. Certain forage plants, especially sorghums and related species are associated with an increased risk of death loss because of prussic acid poisoning.

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.

sun rising over a cornfield. several grain bins are in the background.

Corn Grain Moisture Discount: Why and How Much?

Corn marketed at the standard moisture content of 15.5% and 56 pounds per bushel typically contains 47.3 pounds of dry matter and 8.7 pounds of water. At harvest, a producer has to decide whether to sell (or even store) his corn at ‘as is’ moisture content or mechanically dry it before taking it to the buyer.

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.