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Content by Alexander "Sandy" Smart

Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist, receiving an award on-stage at the 2022 Soil Health Conference.

Anthony Bly Receives Friend of Soil Health Award

May 16, 2022

Anthony Bly, SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist, received the 2022 Friend of Soil Heath Award at the 2022 Soil Health Conference.

Two producers and a conservation agent moving cattle in a grassland area.

Drought Assistance From USDA: CRP Haying and Grazing

As this year’s drought intensifies, folks are quickly running short of forage. Due to the D2 Drought Monitor classification, most South Dakota counties qualify for Conservation Reserve Program haying and grazing for emergency and non-emergency use.

Smart to Lead SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program

July 06, 2021

South Dakota State University Extension has named Alexander “Sandy” Smart as the new Agriculture and Natural Resources Senior Program Leader.

Group of black cattle near a stock dam that’s drying up under drought conditions.

Drought Planning

A drought plan will be an essential component to your overall grazing plan, as it provides guidance in making decisions during critical times when forage may be lacking.

An upland sandpiper bird nestled in a healthy grassland area.


Not only will well-managed grasslands provide habitat for native wildlife; the presence of these often-overlooked species are a great indicator of a well-managed (and likely profitable) grassland system.

Group of ranchers on horseback surveying a vast, rolling rangeland.

Managing and Protecting Grasslands for the Future

Grasslands are a valuable resource for South Dakota, and many of our core industries rely on the perpetuation of healthy grasslands for agriculture, recreation and tourism. Regardless of goals and objectives, many grassland landowners desire assistance with short and long-term grassland management goals.

Herd of cattle grazing in a pasture rotation.

General Principals of Grazing Management

Grazing involves a number of variables, including land carrying capacity, type and distribution of the livestock, water distribution and number of pastures. A combination of proper grazing techniques and grassland management will improve harvest efficiency and lower production costs.

Small group of cattle grazing a well-managed grassland area.

Grazing Systems

According to rangeland and pasture specialists, there are four basic types of grazing systems, including: continuous grazing, deferred rotational grazing, rest rotational grazing and management-intensive grazing.

Two ranchers examining a fencline along a grassland property.

Designing a Grazing Program

The development of a successful grazing management program begins with a mental inventory and an observation of what is happening that you would like to change. Next, consider what you are willing to do to make that change.

Herd of cattle grazing a well-managed range unit following a period of rest.

When To Graze and How Much To Graze

While every grazing management system is unique, there are a few similarities between systems when determining when to graze. Learn some of the factors to consider to avoid overgrazing.