Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Turning hayfields into pastures

By Jim Gerrish
With the ever-increasing cost of making hay, more and more ranchers are kicking the hay habit and pushing their livestock to graze more days of the year. A lot of those ranchers are learning along the way that their best hayfields don’t necessarily make the best pastures. Historically, hayfields in the U.S. have fallen into three broad categories: alfalfa, N-fertilized grass monocultures or grass-legume mixtures. Of these three options, only the grass-legume mixtures transition easily into pasture. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hone your management skills at Tenn. Browsing Academy May 8-9

The sixth Tennessee Browsing Academy is being hosted by Tennessee State University in its quest to offer advanced in-formation on the enhancement of lands. This educational, hands-on two-day seminar will be held May 8-9 at the Middle Tennessee Research & Education Center in Spring Hill, Tenn.

The program is based on the successful California Browsing Academy that has been taught for the past 14 years as a partnership of Tennessee goat specialist An Peischel and Roger Ingram, Extension Livestock Specialist for Placer and Nevada counties out of Auburn, Calif.

Throughout the two days, attendees will be conducting vegetative site analysis, before and after photo monitoring, cutting fence lines, erecting portable solar powered fences, body condition scoring of goats, FAMACHA training, fecal analysis and spending time in the area with the goats monitoring plant species browsed and plant part selected. 

There will be a lot of hands-on, outside activities. Kiko/Spanish meat goats will be used that are presently enhancing land in Tennessee; the basis for contracting business discussions. 
NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) will be in attendance to discuss programs available to producers as they relate to goat production and vegetation utilization. The Tennessee Farmers Cooperative will discuss in detail their forage-master goat mineral (#96216) and sheep mineral (#96297). 

Registration is $150 (check written to: University of Tennessee), includes lunches, breaks, manuals, CDs, and DVDs. Please mail the check to: Tennessee State University, attn: An Peischel, Cooperative Extension, 3500 J.A. Merritt Blvd., Box 9635, Nashville TN 37209-1561. 

For more information, call 615-963-5539 (CDT) or e-mail An Peischel  at 

The seminar is sponsored by Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension Program, University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee Department of Agriculture.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Youth livestock exhibitors can win a set of scales

Digi-Star contest runs May 1-May 30 

Fort Atkinson, Wis. [April 30, 2015] – The 2015, Be a Digi-Star Champion Contest runs May 1- May 30. Youth livestock exhibitors are eligible to enter by posting a picture of their 2015 livestock project to Digi-Star's Facebook page,  The photo that receives the most votes will win their choice of an Alleyway or Wrangler Jr. Livestock scale, or a StockWeigh 300 indicator.

The 2014, winning photo of Drake and Alyssa Hoyt and their market lambs received more than 1,200 likes. They chose a Wrangler Jr. Livestock scale with a StockWeigh 300 indicator as their prize.

"It is awesome! So far we've weighed six pigs, three sheep, three dogs and all the kids. It transports easily in the back of my pick up and it's nice it only needs 2AA batteries to operate," says Justin Hoyt, Drake and Alyssa's dad.

“Digi-Star has deep roots in agriculture and the Be a Digi-Star Champion Contest is just one of the ways we can share our passion with the next generation,” says Nicole Turner, Digi-Star animal products manager.

Recognizing that access to a scale often limits this key measurement process, Digi-Star developed the Be a Digi-Star Champion Contest in 2013. The winner will be the exhibitor whose picture receives the most Facebook votes by 5:00p.m, May 30, 2015. After the contest ends, anyone that entered will receive a special discount code for Digi-Star's online store. The contest is open to all youth under 21 exhibiting livestock during the 2015 show season.

In an ongoing effort to support youth livestock education, Digi-Star also offers specific discounts to Vo-Ag instructors for livestock scale systems purchased online at Instructors simply need to call 800-225-7695 and request the Vo-Ag coupon codeFor more information call (920) 563-1400 or email:

Digi-Star LLC (, a Topcon Positioning Group company, is headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wis., with additional facilities and businesses in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Digi-Star LLC is a global supplier of electronic sensing equipment, precision sensors, displays and software used by farmers and other equipment operators to precisely measure and analyze valuable data from critical farming processes.