Fly Management Practices in Livestock Herds without Using Pesticides By Greg Judy

 
 CLARK, Missouri:  We use a multiprong approach with our management to limit the number of flies that attack our livestock.  I will cover each of these practices in detail.
     Hair coats.  The first practice that has paid huge dividends is selecting cattle that have very slick oily hair coats.  Flies hate landing on oily surfaces that make it tougher for them to take off when a swishing tail comes their way.  The oily surface is an awesome defense mechanism for any cow.  There should not be one trace of any winter hair coat left on your animals when you reach summer heat.
     Walk through your herd and see if you have any hairy animals that have not shed off.  The hairy animals will be covered in flies and they will not be performing very well.  It is almost like the cow is sending out a signal to the flies, come and suck all my blood out.  In natural settings anything that does not shed off...
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Just One Thing By Joel Salatin

 
     For decades The Stockman Grass Farmer has faithfully come to our doorsteps offering ideas and suggestions of things we could do differently.  Those of us looking for new ideas know that within these pages we will not be disappointed.
     But sometimes all these ideas rattle around in our heads and paralyze us with choice.  At the SGF Business Schools I share with Steve Kenyon, I lead with a series of assumptions, one of which is this: "The hardest thing to do in life is make a decision."
     None of us wants to live in a rigid world, and yet being presented with options becomes its own struggle.  Do I bale graze or deep bedding compost?  Do I buy hay or make hay?  Do I use red, speckled, or black cattle?
     Avid readers of SGF know that our foremost grass expert, columnist Jim Gerrish, routinely answers questions with "It depends."  I know this is the right answer, but it sure...
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Flexible Grazing Cells Work Almost Anywhere By Jim Gerrish

 
     MAY, Idaho:  We use two basic grazing cell designs in our grazing management efforts all around the globe.  The fixed design is the one most people are familiar with.  This is where individual paddocks are created with permanent fences and water troughs or drinkers are installed in permanent locations.  The paddock size is fixed as are the fence and water locations.
     The alternative approach is the flexible design which uses movable fences and water tanks within a framework of permanent fences.  We are increasingly using flexible designs in much larger applications and on much more diverse landscapes.
     When I use the term permanent fence I am still referring to electrified hi-tensile fencing.  With all classes of cattle, either a single wire or two-wire permanent fence is all we typically use.  With sheep or goats, the fence may be three or more wires.  Rarely do we ever use a...
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Multi-Species Adds Income and Soil Wealth to Farms By Greg Judy

 
 CLARK, Missouri: The beauty of this whole multi-species thing is that in the process of adding more species it also adds strength to your whole operation. What do I mean by adding strength? Well, all of sudden you now have a particular species that can take advantage of a certain problem plant or difficult terrain area of your farm.
 
When we started leasing land to expand our operation there was one glaring issue that we constantly came up against. Weeds and sprouts were just rampant on those idle leased farms. At the time we did not have a tractor or brush hog to control them. Our new landowners were concerned about the aesthetics of their farms. In other words they wanted their farms to look pretty. Weeds and brush scattered across the landscape was not pretty to them. Remember one thing when leasing land, the landowner is always right.
 ...
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What Is An Investment In Paddock Fencing Really Worth? By Jim Gerrish

 
MAY, Idaho: Pasture subdivision fencing is a tool to help us achieve management objectives. Having the fence there is not an end goal in and of itself. The fence only has value if it allows us to better accomplish our farm or ranch goals. The fence pays for itself either through improved productivity and/or cost savings.
 
Let’s first figure out how we hould be assessing the cost of a fence project and how we analyze our expected benefits. If we just look at the lump sum cost of building a new fence or an extensive fence network for implementing MiG, we might jump to the conclusion that it’s too much money to spend. What makes us think that way? Fear of a big price tag?
 
I always look at fence or stock water development on a cost per acre basis. Take the total cost of the project and divide by the number of acres in the grazing unit. Since we are focused on output per acre such as AUD/acre, pounds of beef/ acre, CWT milk/ acre, etc., we...
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Farm Reboot by Joel Salatin

 
What would happen if you died today?
 
What will your farm look like one year after you’re gone? Do you have a plan? In December 2019 Stockman Grass Farmer went out on a limb and hosted the first in-depth school on succession that from now on we’ll call a reboot because it sounds hopeful rather than depressing. Everything’s in a name, right? 
 
Rebooting our farms is more important than our grazing plan, cash flow plan or marketing plan. It eclipses everything, and yet almost no farm has a plan that addresses this issue. According to all farm demographics right now, in the next 15 years half of all agricultural equity will change hands: land, buildings, machinery. Here at SGF, we know that our core patron base may average lower in age than the average 60-year-old American farmer, but it’s not 35, which is the target average age...
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Warning, This Could Get Intense - Stock Density By Steve Kenyon

BUSBY, Alberta
 
For years, I referred to the type of grazing that I do as Intensive Cell Grazing. I am not sure where I first heard the term or why I used it but that’s what I used to call it. I have also called it sustainable grazing or more recently, regenerative grazing but the truth is, my grazing is still the same no matter what I call it. 
 
Simply put, the goal is to build the soil, repair the water cycle and encourage biodiversity, which in turn should produce more profit. We use the animals to manage the plants and the plants build the soil. The point I want to make is about the first word, “Intensive.” The intensity of grazing refers to the stock density of the livestock. The question I receive quite often is, “How intense should we graze?”
 
Stock density is the number of animal units on a piece of land for a specific...
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Grassfed Beef Expectations for Fattening and Genetics By Anibal Pordomingo

SANTA ROSA, Argentina
 
Fattening cattle without grain is an artisan and difficult task. But some principles seem to hold in common.
 
Fattening or finishing on pasture at a young animal age does not allow for the luxury of low gains and long periods. Marbling expectations shorten that luxury even more. A year-old animal can take forage restriction during backgrounding, speculating with compensatory growth later. But, the length of a restriction depends on the fattening ability later. Animals that reach “ready benchmark” of finishing should be harvested.
 
Many of us prefer grassfed beef on the assumption that we buy a lean and healthy product, with the expectation of eating quality protein with low fat. As an oxymoron we expend most of our planning of a production program on the fattening component. That amount and type of fat is harmless to...
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Perpetuation Planning: Putting a Value on the Farm By Todd Macfarlane

 
 
KANOSH, Utah: I am continuing to beat the equal undivided distribution horse. Because equal undivided distribution is such a common practice in conventional estate planning, and because it creates such challenges for perpetuation of productive agricultural families and operations, whose assets and net worth are so often disproportionately tied up in land and real estate assets that is the specific issue I am going to address in this article.
 
As a general rule, the biggest challenges associated with equal and undivided distribution typically revolve around land and real estate assets. But real estate markets go up and down. In just the past 10 years there have been wild swings in the real estate market, with location always being one of the most fundamental driving forces.
 
The reality is, unless and/or until land is liquidated, sold and converted to...
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The Farm Piggery By: Jordan Green

 
 
 
These protocols should be considered when deciding to enter any birthing livestock enterprise, not just hogs. 
 
EDINBURG, Virginia: How certain enterprises develop on a farm is often entirely random rather than deliberately conceived.
 
On my farm, undertaking a farrowing enterprise was initially born out of necessity. I needed a steady supply of pasture quality genetics and we couldn’t find it.  I had product demand but no piggies to work with.  Big problem.  Good problem.  I wasn’t about to throw in the towel over a supply issue, so in I went, headlong.  Fortunately, we utilized a rough cut of the following points and have built up a successful enterprise. You could say I backed into this.
 
Here are some protocols to consider when deciding to operate a “birthing” enterprise vs. a buy in feeders...
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