Articles & Education

tall grass with blue skies

Grassland CRP: A Tool in the

One of the issues contributing to keeping grass right side up is the unbalanced grassland vs. cropland revenue competition. Most producers are familiar with the Conservation Reserve Program. There are...

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up close picture of green grass in native prairie


Part 3 covers overcoming personal obstacles that are keeping you from achieving your ranch goals. It is important to note that ranch goals are an important part of grazing planning....

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old wagon on a ranch

Do You Want To Hang On

The SD Grasslands Summit in Oacoma on March 18 and 19 featured several speakers and a panel focusing on the financial aspect of keeping grass right side up. Only 16%...

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Mesonet Ag Weather Tool

South Dakota Mesonet: Tools for Drought

Drought planning is an important component of ranch management. A good drought plan should have a series of critical “trigger dates” in which the manager evaluates climate information and makes...

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cactus up close

Drought: Plan for a good year,

By this time of year, in March, producers who are experienced in developing and updating grazing plans and drought contingency plans have already reached their first trigger date decision on...

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Grazing Map of the Grazing Exchange

Grazing Exchange

The Grazing Exchange, initiated by the SDSHC, is a way to get livestock integrated into cropland and providing rest to grasslands. In addition, it also is a way to connect...

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black and white picture of a cow looking at the camera

Why you might be wrong about

Despite its numerous benefits, many cattle farmers are still hesitant to adopt rotational grazing due to several misconceptions and fears. In this blog post, we will explore some of the...

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cattle in the pasture

End of the Season Monitoring

It’s often said “you cannot manage something that has not been measured”. The late Peter Drucker, founder of modern business management theory often stressed thisprinciple. The same can be applied...

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The Green Side Up: Assessing the

Native and exotic plants have many values that label them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but assessing the value of plant diversity in pastures is worth the effort.

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How to Use a Drone on

How to incorporate new technology into a ranching operation takes a bit of time and ingenuity. Several producers shared their perspective for this article.

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What’s Good for the Bird is

The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and South Dakota Grassland Coalition have a shared view: native grasslands of North America are one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the world...

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Shortening the Calving Season

Whether the goal is having a uniform group of calves to sell or avoiding hot weather during late spring calving, keeping the calving season within a narrow window can add...

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Ducks and Grazing: A Grazing Systems

As grassland resources across the northern prairies continue to decline, it is important to manage what remains as efficiently as possible. The most common practice used to manage grasslands is...

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Range 101: Virtual Fencing a Game

Like any new technology, the cost should decrease over time. Some issues of concern which still exists for many were the cybersecurity of the system and who owns these data?...

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Every Acre Counts

Devoting resources, creating new partnerships, and recognizing the potential impact on marginal lands across the state of South Dakota is what created the Every Acre Counts Program. South Dakota State...

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The Green Side Up: Partner Commitments

SD Grassland Coalition Grown substantially over the last decade with the generous support of partner organizations that share in the mission and vision of the Coalition. There have been many...

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Electric Fencing

the first cross fences Consisted of steel posts and barb wire went in at Rock Hills Ranch in 1985. After stringing what probably amounts to several thousand miles of fence...

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Stacking Enterprises

I’ve lived in the Great Plains for 30 years and you would think I would be used to the wacky weather we have here in South Dakota. However, each year...

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Rotational Grazing and Drought Planning

Rotational grazing Creates soil health which promotes plant growth. Increased soil health leads to greater drought tolerance. If you have historically season long grazed, the pastures will respond positively, over...

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Fencing Dilemmas

It’s no secret that ag inputs can be hard to find and expensive. Fencing supplies are a good example. I visited with Reed Cammack at Cammack Supply at Union Center...

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Watering Cattle – Combine Herds for

The current drought of 2021-2022 is in progress Most ranches have started implementing their drought plans by selling off less desirable classes of cattle. Based on NOAA`s monthly long range...

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Succession Planning

We recently attended the ND Grazing Lands Coalition Succession Planning Workshop. This event was sponsored by the National Grazing Lands Coalition and the ND Grazing Lands Coalition. Marissa Nehlsen’s Freedom...

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The Green Side Up: How will

UPDATE ON 2022 LANDOWNER PRESCRIBED FIRE WORKSHOPS Landowner workshop dates are April 27th & 28th at the SDSU Extension Office at Mitchell Tech and June 2nd & 3rd at the...

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Range 101: Plant Identification

the trail boss by Charles M. Russell, is the logo of the Society for Range Management (SRM). This famous painting depicts the cowboy watching over cattle as they are driven...

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The Green Side Up: Is prescribed

One of our board members recently posed a question about the carbon cycle and fire. The concern is that fire obviously releases carbon into the atmosphere that might otherwise be...

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When You Don’t Want to Buy

Late summer rains in much of the state have boosted cool-season grasses extending fall grazing, but many producers harvested a minimal amount of hay to get them through the winter....

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Range 101: Fall Monitoring

Fall is a great time to monitor your pasture resources and get a picture of how the grazing season went. It might be discouraging to do this in a drought...

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Weed Control, One Bite at a

We’re in our third year of custom grazing sheep at Rock Hills Ranch. Our pastures have a diverse mix of grass, forbs, and shrubs, some of which cattle won’t consume....

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Blue-Green Algae and Livestock

With the expanding drought conditions across Western South Dakota, there are increased concerns about livestock water quality. One water quality concern stems from the algae blooms on stock dams. The...

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Range 101: Warm-Season Growth Curve

During drought years it is often easier to observe the differences between warm-season and coolseason plants. This is especially true in July. I have been collecting biomass samples every two...

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Drought Planning: A Case Study

Joshua Dukart North Dakota Holistic Resource Management trainer, at a recent HRM school in Faith said “our ranching business should be designed to focus on identifying and pursuing opportunities. With...

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Range 101: Grass-Cast

introduction Drought is a relatively common occurrence in the central and northern Great Plains. Spring drought (April-June) occurs 19-35% of the time in our region (see Smart et al. 2021...

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Selecting a Calving Season Based on

Choosing the calving season is a complex and highly individual decision for each beef cattle producer. This leads to a wide range of calving seasons across the Northern Plains. Various...

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Grass Finishing Genetics

The first bull catalog arrived in our mailbox shortly after Jan. 1, so it’s time to think about that aspect of beef production. Industry forecasters predict that demand for grass...

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The Green Side Up

As the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to work cooperatively with conservation groups and landowners the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) continues to improve and is now more practical for...

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Range 101: Goal Setting

As we begin a new year, I thought it appropriate to write about goal planning. Each year, I start my Ranch Management Planning course by reviewing the holistic goal concept...

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