Timely Tips – February 2022

Timely Tips – February 2022

Winter Grazing: Mud and Seeding   It’s been a long, cold, wet winter in Tennessee/Kentucky, and this inevitably brings on the potential for lots of mud. Hay feeding strategies and maintaining cover are crucial to reducing mud and compaction. Seeding areas denuded...

read more
Timely Tips – September 2021

Timely Tips – September 2021

Big Spring Farm Pasture Walk   My annual pasture walk is Thursday, October 14, from 10 am ct till about 3 pm. I’m finishing cattle, sheep, and hogs for direct marketing now, so we’ll look at what it takes to produce high-quality forage for finishing animals. This...

read more
June 2021 Timely Tips – Adaptive Grazing Management

June 2021 Timely Tips – Adaptive Grazing Management

Any quick search on Google or YouTube with the mention of grazing is enough to send you down an rabbit hole that can easily cause confusion and frustration as you try to plan your grazing management for summer pastures.  Here are some of the different types of grazing...

read more
Hay Feeding Strategies

Hay Feeding Strategies

  Spring Hay Feeding I wanted to send out a Timely Tips to encourage everyone to feed hay a little longer in the spring to let the grass get a good start. Spring grass is washy with high water content and some hay fed along with it helps to slow the rate of...

read more
Frost Seeding Legumes

Frost Seeding Legumes

When it comes to frost seeding, all you need is a good honeycomb freeze (a shown in the above photo) and an electric seeder on a 4-wheeler. This cold snap we’re experiencing is a perfect time for frost seeding.  A layer of snow will help you to see your tracks and...

read more
The Evolution of a Multi-Species Grazing Operation

The Evolution of a Multi-Species Grazing Operation

The Goal of Big Spring Farm:  "An easily managed, low input grazing operation that improves production and the environment while being consistently profitable” Greg Brann.   Brief History of Big Spring Farm 2005:  The Big Spring Farm is named for a boiling cold...

read more
Monthly Browse Management For Goats

Monthly Browse Management For Goats

This is a timeless, indispensable resource that I put together a few years back for  NRCS and Gallahger Fence. This calendar helps you to prioritize your  grazing and forage management tasks for goats.  With so many components within the wholistic management schedule,...

read more
Monthly Grazing and Browse Management for Sheep and Goat

Monthly Grazing and Browse Management for Sheep and Goat

This is a timeless, indispensable resource that I put together a few years back for  NRCS and Gallahger Fence. This calendar helps you to prioritize your  grazing and forage management tasks for sheep and goats.  With so many components within the wholistic management...

read more
Monthly Grazing Management for Cattle

Monthly Grazing Management for Cattle

This is a timeless, indispensable resource that I put together a few years back for  NRCS and Gallahger Fence. This calendar helps you to prioritize your  grazing and forage management tasks for cattle.  With so many components within the wholistic management...

read more
Fencing for Serious Graziers

Fencing for Serious Graziers

Electric fencing offers two major advantages over other types of fencing. One is cost. The cost to install a four-strand, barbed-wire fence is about $5,000 per mile. The cost to install a typical, single-wire, electric fence is about $1,600 per mile. If necessary,...

read more
Water Points

Water Points

Water the most important nutrient! It's the largest quantity requirement for beef and dairy cattle (e.g. 15 gal/day = 125 lb/day). Water is commonly the weakest link in grazing systems. Water placement impacts grazing (overgrazing and under utilization) and nutrient...

read more
Timely Tips – June

Timely Tips – June

We are at the change of seasons.  A time to contemplate and plan for summer forage. Note in the graph above, as temperatures hit 80 degrees F. or higher cool season forage production decreases and warm seasons forages kick in high gear.  I encourage you to make warm...

read more
Grazing Annual Cover Crops

Grazing Annual Cover Crops

“Can we graze cover crops?”  The answer is yes, with an “it depends” attached.  It depends on soil conditions, the growth stage of the cover cro,; the reason you planted cover crops, and whether you're involved in a conservation plan or program that requires other...

read more
Managing Pastures for Horses and Mud

Managing Pastures for Horses and Mud

Living in mud creates an unhealthy environment for a horse. Mud harbors bacteria and fungal organisms which cause diseases such as abscesses, scratches, rain scald, and thrush. Mud is also a breeding ground for insects, especially filth flies. Insects are annoying at...

read more
Cowboy Math – Acres per Paddock

Cowboy Math – Acres per Paddock

This table assumes 5 inches of growth at turn in and good to excellent forage weighing 300 pounds per acre inch.  Livestock numbers are based on 1,000-pound animals with a calf up to 300 pounds.  Consumption rate is based on an average of 2.6 percent of body weight...

read more
Reasons for Rotational Grazing

Reasons for Rotational Grazing

Livestock Calmer livestock– having control of animals is a huge part of overall management. Reduced hay fed– a 12 paddock system vs. continuous resulted in 31% less hay fed Carrying capacity is increased– typically moving from a monthly rotation to a weekly rotation...

read more
Indicator Plants

Indicator Plants

  Indicator Plants are plants that, by their presence or abundance, provide an assessment of the quality of the site. Past soil management has a dramatic effect on the plant community and the plant community doesn’t change quickly so some indicator plants may...

read more
Silvopasture

Silvopasture

Pasture to SilvopastureSilvopasture Plan  Goal: Managing timber and grass to the advantage of both.   Light Management and Tree Planting:   Harvest salable timber or perform hack and squirt technique to remove low grade trees providing light for regeneration...

read more
Timely Tips – January

Timely Tips – January

It is hard to believe but it’s time to order seed for frost seeding in February.  Producers should inventory fields and determine legumes and grass needed.   Seed that are suited well to frost seeding: red clover, white clover and annual lespedeza (on thin less...

read more
Timely Tips – January – Forage

Timely Tips – January – Forage

Planning: Winter is a great time to reflect on our management this past year and what changes we plan for the upcoming year.  Stocking rate, feeding, sacrifice area, culling, grazing management, seeding, etc. Stocking rate has the biggest impact on resource management...

read more
Fertilizing and Nutrient Cycling in Pastures

Fertilizing and Nutrient Cycling in Pastures

As I drive across the state I see a lot of broomsedge an indicator plant of low fertility. However it is not always lime that is lacking.  It is often times P2O5 or even K2O.  Bottom-line is take a soil test, even if you don’t plan to apply nutrients now. A soil test...

read more
Timely Tips August – Cool Season Planting Mixes

Timely Tips August – Cool Season Planting Mixes

Good to have rain over most of the state.  It is time to start planning for winter: seeding, stockpiling and managing grass for the transition of seasons.  The normal recommended seeding date for most cool season forages is August 15 to October 1.  Yes, I think it is...

read more
Dealing With Drought

Dealing With Drought

During droughts it is tempting to graze all pastures and to graze them short, however,  short grazed pastures provide almost no feed and leaves many plants dead and others in such a weakened condition that they cannot respond well when conditions return.  In the long...

read more
Alternatives to Help Stretch Forage Supplies

Alternatives to Help Stretch Forage Supplies

Maintain a 3” minimum grazing height   Inventory Animal Demand and Forage Supply Animal demand per 1,000 lb cow is roughly 20 -30 pounds of forage per day, 750 - 900 pounds forage/month or 9,000 - 10,800/year demand will be somewhat less for non-lactating animals and...

read more

Heavy Use Areas

17Nov 2001   SoilsTypes & Uses Grassed – use in areas where traffic can be managed to maintain vegetative cover, grass species which are wear resistant and have fast recovery from wear may be used. Geotextile Fabric and Rock – use in areas where vegetation...

read more