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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.

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.

two black beetles rolling a ball of dung

An identification guide to common Dung Beetles of South Dakota

A guide of common dung beetles of South Dakota.

bunches of Aronia berries still on a bush

Soil Testing for Vineyards in South Dakota

Not all soils are conducive to growing quality grapes, so prospective vineyard sites should be tested before a decision is made to plant grapes. Tests can identify soils that are either too high in pH, salts, or salinity, or that are “too rich” (too high in organic matter and nitrogen) for grapes. In addition, testing before planting allows for the incorporation of nutrients—such as phosphorus—that do not move easily through the soil to plant roots.

A herd of cattle grazing near a pond on an open range.

Cattle and Land Conservation in South Dakota

Analysis of results from a 2017 South Dakota farmer survey reveals that cattlemen tend to be more land conservation oriented than their grain farming counterparts.

Cover Crop Adoption: Farmers’ perceived benefits & barriers

Cover crops are generally defined as crops planted between cash crops to cover and protect the soil. Some demonstrated benefits of cover crops include: reduced soil erosion, increased soil organic matter, increased biological diversity, increased nitrogen supply, and weed control. Depending on the farmers’ objectives, different species of cover crops can be planted. For example, if a farmer’s main objective is to increase nitrogen supply, then legume cover crops best suited to the farm area should be selected.

A lush field with corn, soybean, and forage rotation.

Crop Diversification Potential: Improving Soil Health & Farm Profitability

Two-year corn-soybean rotation coupled with heavy chemical inputs has become the routine practice of agricultural production in the Midwestern United States. According to USDA/NASS data, corn and soybean prices received by producers in South Dakota both reached the peak levels of $7.39 and $16.00 per bushel, respectively, in August, 2012.