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A group of black heifer calves in a feedlot.

Using Feedlot Manure as a Crop Nutrient Source

Factsheet that reviews the steps to obtain a manure application rate based on crop need, soil and manure testing.

A father and daughter working on a fence along rangeland.

Strategic and Scenario Planning in Ranching: Conducting a Ranch Inventory

During times of belt-tightening, it’s imperative to make sure all the resources of the ranch are being utilized as efficiently as possible. Conducting a complete ranch inventory is a perfect time for ranch managers to take an in-depth look at their operation.

A herd of cattle gather around a stock pond on a vast, lush grassland. Courtesy: USDA [CC BY 2.0]

Range Improvements, Grazing Systems and Net Present Value, What is the Right Balance?

As farms and ranches across South Dakota continue to endure increasing costs of production while receiving less cash for grain and livestock marketed; ranch managers must be extra diligent when implementing new range improvements and grazing systems on their ranches.

Two side-by-side fields. The left field is planted with perennial grass. The right field is bare with salty soil exposed.

Managing Weeds While Transforming Marginal Land Into Perennial Forages Production

There are currently millions acres across South Dakota impacted by saline and sodic conditions. Research has shown that salt-tolerant perennial grasses are a possible way to bring land back into production.

A man inspecting a field with salty soil.

Perennial Solutions for Alkali Areas

Reclaiming marginal lands, especially those considered saline or sodic can be very challenging and may take many years to accomplish. The key to turning around salt or alkali areas in your fields, begins with getting a living root established in the affected area.

Cover crops growing in a field of harvested corn.

Utilizing Cover Crops for Grazing: An Assessment on Economic Benefits

Grazing cover crops by cattle provides an option to offset cover crop seed costs and increase farm revenue. To facilitate farmers’ decision making, this article will evaluate the economic profitability from grazing cattle on cover crops using a partial budgeting approach.

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.

A field with patches of soil exhibiting poor water infiltration.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Cover Crops and Crop Residues

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.

A patch of switchgrass growing at the edge of a field.

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Planting Switchgrass on Marginal Lands

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.

A green tractor planting seeds in a no-till field. Courtesy: United Soybean Board [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

Farm Practices That Improve Soil Health: Crop Rotations and No-Till

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.