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Grassland

All Grassland Content

a black tailed prairie dog resting on a mount

Prairie Dog Management in South Dakota

Prairie dogs are an important component of the grassland ecosystem. They feed on grasses and forbs, as well as seeds and some insects. They can consume large amounts of vegetation. This is a problem for livestock producers as they compete with livestock for forage.

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.

Color-coded map showing the October precipitation outlook for the United States.

2019 October Climate Outlook and Missouri River Forecast

The chances of a wet October increased with the latest climate outlook update, released on September 30, 2019. In the first few days of the month, rain or snow has scattered across much of the state. There hasn’t been a heavy rain or snow event this month. The outlook shows odds leaning towards much of the same pattern in the weeks ahead.

A herd of cattle grazing near a stock pond.

2019 Eastern South Dakota Water Conference to be Held Oct. 16 at South Dakota State University

October 01, 2019

The 2019 Eastern South Dakota Water Conference will be held Oct. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the campus of South Dakota State University in the Volstorff Ballroom of the University Student Union.

Conservation, Grassland, Soil Health, Wildlife

Canada thistle growing in a pasture.

Fall Noxious Weed Control

September 30, 2019

Fall is the time to control tough perennial broadleaf lawn weeds. Good moisture in most places in August will have set up good fall growth of perennial weeds.

Forage, Range, Grassland, Pasture, Crop Management, Crop Treatments

A herd of sheep foraging on leafy spurge in a grassland.

Multi-Species Grazing as an Alternative to Pasture Spraying

Broadacre spraying of pastures is intended to reduce undesirable plants and increase grasses for livestock. This practice often results in unintended consequences, including damage and reduction of native forbs and reduced profitability. One approach to managing perceived “weedy” plants is incorporating different species of livestock into a grazing operation.

six men in a pasture analyzing the types of grasses.

Range Workshops Held at Rosebud and Kyle this Summer

September 26, 2019

Youth and adults of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe) and the Oglala Lakota Nation participated in range workshops this summer put on by SDSU Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and partners.

Range, Conservation, Youth Agriculture, Pasture, Grassland

a map of the United States with different colors showing the precipitation outlook variations.

Fall Frost and September Climate Outlook for 2019

September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.

Canada thistle growing in a pasture.

Fall Noxious Weed Control

Fall weed control can give the best weed control, but it also can be a poor time. If the noxious weeds were sprayed or clipped earlier this summer and there is good weed growth now, this would be a excellent time to spray these weeds and get a good kill.

A lush, native South Dakota pasture with a variety of grasses, flowers, and plants growing throughout.

Is Whole Pasture Spraying Necessary?

Broadcast spraying is a common means of controlling undesirable, or perceived weedy plants in a pasture in South Dakota. Although well-intentioned, broadcast spraying can have many negative consequences, some of which are not immediately apparent.