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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.

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.

An aerial view of a series of swine finishing facilities.

Methods to Slow Finishing Pig Growth

In abnormal situations, like with the packing plant closure we’re currently dealing with, pork producers may need to “hold” their pigs past normal marketing dates in order for other processing options to open up. We can accomplish that in two ways: altering internal barn environment and changing diets.

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 series of three creep feeders placed on an open range. Courtesy: Robin Webster (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Creep Feeding Options: Will it Pay?

Creep-feeding should be evaluated on yearly basis to determine if it will provide production and economic benefits to the operation.

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.

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.

small group of cattle resting near feed bunk

Liver Abscesses: The Unseen Profit Thief

Liver abscesses are a great example of an important value robber in feedlot cattle that’s not immediately apparent.

an open bal hay feeder

Hay: Stop the Waste

In an effort to prevent increasing the winter feed bill, a new bale feeder design or feeding plan may need to be developed and put into action in order to manage hay waste this winter.

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.