Category: Nutrition

Winter Grazing for Livestock: Enhancing Animal Performance, Health, and Farm Profitability

Winter grazing for livestock offers numerous benefits that extend beyond traditional feeding practices. This article explores the advantages of winter grazing, including improved animal performance, enhanced animal health, reduced labor for farmers, and ultimately, improved profitability. Improved Animal Performance: Winter grazing allows animals to continue their natural behaviors which limits

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Evaluating your mineral program

We all know that our sheep need minerals, but how do we know that we are not over- or under-supplying their needs? Mineral deficiencies can lead to disease, but too much can lead to toxicity and even death. Minerals interact with each other; high levels of molybdenum can suppress copper

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Grazing Native Warm-Season Grasses: SARE Grant Update

In my career with USDA-NRCS I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of different production methods involving a variety of livestock operations across North Carolina. Beginning in 2016, I began working with more producers that had established or wanted to establish native warm-season grasses (NWSGs) in their pasture operations. Those

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Scours: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Scours or diarrhea is something that most of us probably see in our flocks over the course of a year. Animals scour whenever there is a disturbance in the normal processes that regulate how much fluid is excreted in their manure. Scours is a symptom, sometimes due to a serious

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It All Starts in the Rumen

As prey animals, sheep evolved with the ability to harvest their food quickly with very little chewing, then retire to a safe place to further process their meal. Sheep are unable to directly digest the cellulose in forages and must rely on billions of microorganisms in the rumen (bacteria, protozoa

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Late Gestation Management Considerations

Ewes are bred, the holidays are just around the corner, and for all of us with winter lambing flocks, lambing season is almost here. Over the last year, we have invested in high quality genetics to move our flocks forward and now it’s important that we make sure our next

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Alternative Feeds: Is Variety the Spice of Life?

When it comes to sheep feed…it depends. With staggering increases in feed costs due to inflation, supply chain disruptions, impacts of international conflicts affecting energy, grain and fertilizer production along with regional weather events, now might be a good time to investigate alternative feeds. Alternative feeds are those that are

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Small Farm Hay Considerations

For a small producer, identifying a hay farmer that suits your needs each and every year can be an invaluable asset to your farm. Building and nurturing that relationship may mean you have access to hay during unforeseen events, such as drought or shortage. Creating that relationship gives you an

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Managing Feed Costs in a Time of Expensive Inputs

As we enter the fall and look ahead to winter feeding months, hay prices continue to climb. With feed accounting for more than 50% of production costs, managing these expenses is critical to remaining profitable in current times. Two strategies for decreasing feed costs are: 1) extending the grazing season

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Small Flock Pasture Management

At weaning time, you will need your best pastures in tip top shape for your lambs to continue growing. Your free input resource must be managed throughout the late spring and summer. This can be challenging with limited equipment and modest grazing space. Rotational grazing techniques are helpful and can be complimented with proactive

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