- Animals: bovine
- Animal Production: grazing - continuous, grazing management, range improvement, grazing - rotational, stocking rate
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns
- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
- Production Systems: holistic management
- Soil Management: soil microbiology, organic matter
We run an all grass operation on about 2700 acres of native prairie in central ND. We run a herd of leased and owned spring calving cows and also custom graze the excess grass that is not planned for our own herd. We plan on grazing our cow herd year around when the weather allows, so we set aside grass for dormant season grazing. This brings in another level of management to our system since we have to plan for grazing in all seasons and nutritional requirements for the different and changing classes of cattle (i.e. early to late gestation). During the times of winter where the weather will not allow us to graze we bale graze to help improve ground cover, soil health and keep the animals out of the corral. Our project focused on mob grazing, however on the acres that were not used for the project we used a rotational grazing strategy focusing on the goals we are trying to reach with the land, the cattle and our own quality of life. This means we generally move cows every 1 to 15 days depending on our goals. The land that we run on is in larger chunks that are wide open and have few to no cross fences so a majority of the cells that we make are with temporary electric fence and from year to year the cell size and placement changes.
We received this grant the first year that my wife and I were ranching on our own. Prior to this we were working on my grandfather’s farm and ranch. While we were there we managed a rotational grazing system that incorporated the use of his cow-calf pairs; as well as helping manage his cropping system for the improvement of soil health. Some of the specific practices were soil testing, cover crops, rotational grazing and crop rotation. We have adopted many new regenerative practices since we are now ranching on our own.
- Extend our grazing season to limit the amount of hay that is fed.
- Start to change the grass species to more toward a native climax community
- Improved rangeland and soil health through trampling vegetation and rest.
- Weight gains on cattle.
- Improved financial situation for the ranch.