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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 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 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.

Left: Soil from long-term no-till field, exhibiting good soil aggregation through clumping and smaller pieces of soil. Right: Soil from conventionally managed field that included tillage and crop residue removal. Notice the soil is lighter brown, indicating lower organic matter, and the pieces of soil are in larger chunks with no visible indication of clumping or structure.

Organic Agronomy Starting to Impact

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

Weed Control: Pasture and Range

There are 24 million acres of native and tame pasture and range as well as 1.4 million acres of grass hayland in South Dakota.

Frost-covered grass in a winter pasture.

SWOT Analysis for Your Ranch (And Don’t Forget About Yourself)

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.

grass with field bindweed, a viny green weed with white flowers

Weed Control: Noxious Weeds

Noxious Weed Recommendations: Herbicides for pasture, range, and non-crop areas, including roadside and other right-of-way that may be harvested for hay or grazed, are given a priority.

a young woman's headshot

South Dakota Delegate, Matea Gordon, to Present at the Society for Range Management Annual Conference in Denver

February 07, 2020

Matea Gordon, sophomore at Sturgis Brown High School, has been selected by the South Dakota section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) to participate in the High School Youth Forum (HSYF).