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.
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.
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.
Planting cover crops and returning crop residues (stover) to the soil both adds nutrients and improves overall soil quality. These practices are common with producers across South Dakota and have been recently studied by researchers to identify how they impact the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a tall, native, prairie grass that is often seeded on marginal lands in South Dakota. It has gained growing popularity over the past decade not only as a source of biofuel and feed, but also as a method to improve soil properties.
Implementing diverse crop rotations and no-till practices are common suggestions to reduce erosion, control pests, and improve yields. These practices can also improve soil health through an increase in soil carbon levels.
For decades scientists have known that a handful of soil contained more micro-biological organisms than the number of humans on earth. Science is just beginning to discover these organisms and learn about their functions and contribution to their soil ecosystem.
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is something that you can sit down and complete during this first month or so of 2020 so that you can set your operation up for success as we move into the more hectic times that spring brings.
This winter it is time to study up on the Farm Bill elections and make an appointment with the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) in order to put the program in place for the farm. The deadline to make the election is March 15, 2020.