Can we really regenerate our soils?

Beef cattle in cover crop pasture

This grazing and cover crop system is producing some impressive numbers

By Gabe Brown
Phone calls, emails and even a few old-fashioned letters — all say the same thing. As I travel presenting at conferences and workshops, the statement comes up repeatedly.

If only I had a dollar for the number of times I had people tell me, “Gabe, you just don’t understand that our soils are not like yours.” I have learned to listen patiently (OK, sometimes not so patiently) as these people tell me all the reasons my soils are productive, and theirs are not. Continue reading “Can we really regenerate our soils?”

Pigs stack well with our grassfed beef

By Aaron and Melissa Miller

We’ve been raising pigs on pasture for the past 12 years. Our beef customers were asking about pork, and we decided it was a good candidate to round out our meat selection at the various markets we serve.

Pigs have become a profit center for us because we’re able to fill our delivery truck and sales trailer with a broader range of products when we go to market, making the days more profitable. Stacking pork atop our core grassfed beef business adds value without adding too much in the way of expense, including labor.

Thank you for visiting the Graze magazine website. We offer a few sample articles online, but to see the full content, order a subscription of the print magazine or order the specific back issue you are interested in. This article appeared in the January 2017 issue of Graze.

A problem of distribution

Soil and yield testing showed shocking shortfalls in the back halves of paddocks

By Daniel Olson

So, I was sitting in my sister’s living room, admiring the newly purchased aerial photograph of their property. Their place is next to ours, so the main farm is also in the picture. You could clearly see the chicken tractors across the road, the junk pile we hide behind the barn, and the new building project.

But what really stood out were the different shades of green within our paddocks. As I looked closer, I could see that the darkest grass was always closest to the paddock gates, and it consistently lightened in direct proportion to the distance from those gates.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, and I guess I always knew that our highest productivity was toward the front of our paddocks. I decided to do some research this past summer.

Thank you for visiting the Graze magazine website. We offer a few sample articles online, but to see the full content, order a subscription of the print magazine or order the specific back issue you are interested in. This article appeared in the December 2016 issue of Graze.

Getting paid to graze

Natural land care gaining popularity

By Janet McNally
One path to making a living with livestock is to be paid to graze other people’s properties. This month I’ll feature two graziers in very different parts of the country who employ goats in custom-grazing businesses.

Why goats? They are known for their ability to eat browse and weeds that cattle will not touch, and they are better browsers than sheep. Goats can be used to suppress noxious weeds and woody plants without competing directly with cattle for pasture.

Thank you for visiting the Graze magazine website. We offer a few sample articles online, but to see the full content, order a subscription of the print magazine or order the specific back issue you are interested in. This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of Graze.

Does pasture diversity matter?

Allen Williams

Recent trials show it boosts production and aids health

by Allen Williams, Ph.D.

The vast majority of established pastures in the U.S. are dominated by what I would term a “near monoculture”, meaning that most of the forage yield, or biomass production, is obtained through two to three primary forages in the mix.

Natural prairies are a different story, as we see literally scores of plant species in mixes consisting of grasses, legumes and forbs. I have been on “species counts” in native prairie where experts identified more than 150 different plants, sometimes more than 200. Continue reading “Does pasture diversity matter?”

Putting some numbers to cover crop benefits

Daniel Olson in field

By Daniel Olson

Lena, Wisconsin
—The benefits of annual cover crops, such as increased organic matter, soil porosity, and nitrogen creation, are well known. Over the past few years, pioneers in this field have championed “cocktail” mixes of a wide range of species, and they have achieved amazing results.

Maybe it’s my inner researcher here, but something about cocktails has always bothered me. I think it’s the idea that it seems too easy. We plant a bunch of different things with the knowledge that something will grow and quite possibly thrive. Continue reading “Putting some numbers to cover crop benefits”