August 15, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By: Allen R Williams, Ph.D. Without even realizing it, for well over than a century, American farmers have had the idea that nature is a beast to be tamed and contained. If we want to be good farmers and ranchers we must conquer nature and overcome her. We have invented many mechanical and chemical tools to help us in this fight.
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August 13, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Paul Brown It wasn’t too long ago that February and March were our busiest and most stressful months on the ranch. Like most other ranchers in the area, it was calving season for us. For years we calved during this time of year because it was “normal.” The argument is that the calves would be bigger in the fall once they were weaned and sold on the commodity market. Although this argument is true, it comes with detrimental costs in the form of stress, increased death loss, lack of sleep, and very hard work.
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August 13, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Dr. Allen R Williams, Ph.D. My consulting partners and I teach a form of grazing that we call Adaptive Grazing. Adaptive grazing, also called Flex Grazing, is first and foremost not a rigid system or even a routine. It allows the practitioner to address multiple goals and objectives, and to adjust to changing conditions. The benefits derived from adaptive grazing far exceed those of any other grazing practice I have experienced. The practice of adaptive grazing can be summarized in three basic principles that we employ.
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August 7, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Allen R Williams, Ph.D What is the Principle of Diversity? It is quite simple. In my experience in working with several thousand farmers and ranchers across a wide variety of environments and landscapes, I have found that plant species complexity and diversity are critical to building positive compounding and cascading benefits. In that regard, I have concluded that all pastures or rangeland need to have the three primary plant classes represented. These include grasses, legumes, and forbs (broadleaves). Additionally, it is desirable to have a number of species of each of the three primary plant classes. Not just one grass present, or one legume, or one forb. Rather, I strive to have at least three or more of each plant class present insignificant quantities in each pasture.
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August 7, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Allen R. Williams Ph.D. The final principle in our series is the Principle of Disruption. We may have a negative connotation of the word “disruptive” because we have heard that “nobody wants a disruptive kid” or we “have to be nice and not disrupt the meeting”. However, sometimes it pays to be disruptive, to shake things up a little, or even a lot.
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August 7, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Allen R Williams, Ph.D. To most people genetic selection can be a complicated task. There is so much data out there that many folks get lost in the translation. What to use and how much emphasis to put on each trait becomes an overwhelming issue. EPD’s, actual trait measurements, phenotype, pedigrees, ultrasound data, linear measurements, other people’s recommendations --- which do I use and why? With all the data available we often find ourselves floating in a sea of confusion.
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August 7, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Allen R. Williams, Ph.D. Since the 1970’s there has been a trend in the beef cattle industry to select for larger cattle. This has been the result of a dogged pursuit for heavier weaning weights, higher yearling weights, desiring to be in the top 10% of breed EPDs in growth traits, and “producing what the packer wants”. The problem is none of the above makes you any money in terms of pure net profit. Rather, the pursuit of larger, bigger, heavier often comes with a high price tag that wipes out net margins. You may have breakfastdiner bragging rights but that won’t pay for your breakfast.
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August 7, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Allen R Williams, Ph.D. Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Genes occur in pairs and code for specific traits or combinations of traits in the body. Most genes can have significant variation in the degree to which they express themselves. This is very important to remember as we discuss the impact of epigenetics on animal performance. What factors can alter degree of gene expression? Primarily environmental factors such as diet or nutrition, climate, disease, toxins, deficiencies, and other environmental influences.
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August 7, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
By Allen R. Williams and Russ Conser Lion King, as with all Disney movies, has a great plot and some catchy tunes, but also a deeper moral to the story. In this case – it is about the “circle of life.” Circles have no beginning or end. If we start anywhere on a circle, and follow it around, we end up in loop coming back to where we started. The Lion King circle was about the big loop of life and death, and so it is with the circle of life in your pastures.
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July 26, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Last month we talked about your role in managing grazing to keep the carbon-centric circle of life cycling. This month, we’ll dig deeper into how the cycling of carbon in this circle leads the cycling of water. The fact that water is really important for growing plants is not news, but let’s unpack this a bit to provide a deeper understanding of this virtuous cycling in action. Stated simply, where carbon goes, water follows.
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