Monday, March 11, 2013
livestock-mississippi

Mississippi: Cattle Farm Practices Good Conservation

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


A Panola County cattleman is using native grasses in a 200-acre intensive grazing operation that is both efficient and environmentally friendly.

Durwood Gordon owns Gordon Farms, a pasture and cattle farm near Batesville. He is experiencing the kind of success that is the goal of the Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat, or REACH, initiative coordinated by Mississippi State University.

“I have quite a bit of native grasses that I put in because it was good for agriculture and good for business,” Gordon said. “Native grasses require very little fertilization, and since their root systems grow very deep, they are drought tolerant.

 

“These native forages don’t show as high food protein when you send them off for a nutrient analysis, but the cattle just thrive on it,” he said.

Each of these factors is important in an intensive grazing operation. Gordon fenced off 23 paddocks of about five acres each through which he rotates his cattle every one to three days, depending on the condition of the forage.

Because he moves his cattle frequently, he can check on their health as he handles them. The cows are accustomed to his presence and know what to expect when he arrives.

“Lots of days, I just open the gap and the cows walk right through into the next paddock,” Gordon said. “When you have contented cows handled in a low-stress situation, you’re going to have fewer health problems.”

Another benefit of his setup is the fresh drinking water sources available in the paddocks.

“I put a water fountain under the cross fences so I have one water fountain for two paddocks,” Gordon said. “Since the cows don’t have to go very far for water, it’s not a social event to go get a drink.”

Gordon said this benefits the whole pasture because the cows do not congregate in a limited area, leaving a high buildup of manure and therefore nutrients in one spot. When cows congregate at a water hole, they also tear up the ground, which can lead to erosion.

“In this system, the cow’s manure and urine is spaced out uniformly over the paddock, and that cuts down on the amount of fertilizer I need to apply to that pasture,” Gordon said.

Judd Gentry, MSU Extension Service Panola County agent with ag and natural resources responsibilities, said another benefit of Gordon’s intensive grazing system is it forces the cattle to graze edible material they would normally avoid.

“In open pasture, the cattle pick and choose what they want to graze, and they leave or graze around some of the taller, tougher grasses or weeds,” Gentry said. “In an intensive system, you end up with a better pasture that has less weed pressure.”

Gentry said the REACH program provides Gordon another platform on which to showcase his success as a cattle producer and environmental steward.

“Durwood has had a lot of people come in and look at his setup and design,” Gentry said.

Robbie Kroger, assistant professor of aquatic sciences in the MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, leads the REACH initiative, which is a collaboration of the  MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and Forest and Wildlife Research Center.

He said producers benefit from sharing information with each other, and the REACH initiative allows them an opportunity to meet and learn from each other.

“Through the REACH program, we’ll have success stories scattered throughout the state,” Kroger said. “This will give participating farmers access to MSU research and expertise, and accountability in their conservation efforts.”

Kroger said about 30 farmers have 96,000 acres enrolled in the stakeholder-driven program currently, and more are signing up.

“We are approaching the farmer and asking, ‘What do you need help with?’” Kroger said. “We are trying to help them with agriculture and conservation, then showcase how good a job they are doing with land stewardship.”

Tags: ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    Doane Cotton Close: Exports Down, Fund Buying Dries Up3-5

    Ethanol: Production Profits Were Amazing in 20143-5

    DTN Cotton Close: Negative Exports Hurt Early Rally3-5

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Firm Ceiling for Soybeans; Wheat Testing Support3-5

    AFB Cotton Close: Rally Running Out of Steam3-5

    AFB Rice Close: Mixed in Light Volume3-5

    DTN Grain Close: Brazil’s Harvest Advances3-5

    Soybeans: A More Efficient Test for Soybean Cyst Nematodes3-5

    DTN Livestock Midday: Futures Under Pressure3-5

    Georgia Weather: El Nino Finally Arrives3-5

    Diversity Is the Answer to Herbicide-Resistance Management3-5

    DTN Cotton Open: Reduced Commitments for Shipment3-5

    Keith Good: McDonalds Stepping Away from Antibiotic Chicken3-5

    Herbicides: Avoiding Potential Injury in Small Grains3-5

    Keith Good: Iowa Ag Summit Pressures Presidential Hopefuls3-5

    Iowa: Renewable Energy Support, Why It’s Desired from Presidential Hopefuls – DTN3-5

    DTN Livestock Open: Residual Buying Interest3-5

    DTN Livestock Close: Large Sell-Off3-4

    Grain TV: Soybeans Hit by Double Whammy3-4

    Kansas: Sumner County a Primary Natural Disaster Area3-4

    Arizona: 4 Counties Declared Natural Disaster Areas3-4

    Oil Exports Reach Record High3-4

    New Mexico: 9 Counties Designated Natural Disaster Areas3-4

    California: Imperial County Designated a Natural Disaster Area3-4

    Propane Stocks Decrease3-4

    Gas Prices Skyrocket3-4

    Diesel Prices on the Rise3-4

    Georgia: Quick Fix, Patching up “Bot Cankers” on Pecan Trees3-4

    Markets: How Will Closing the Trading Pits Affect Performance?3-4

    Keith Good: Will Cuba Buy More U.S. Commodities? Farmers, Other Ag Businesses Hope So.3-4

    Planting: Soybean, Corn Planter Choices. What’s Right for You? – DTN3-4

    DTN Grain Midday: Pressure from South America, China May be Out of U.S.3-4

    The “Battle” of Acres, Predicting Corn and Soybean Ratios – DTN3-4

    Nebraska: Value of Farmland Drops3-4

    DTN Grain Open: Warm Weather Expected in Winter Wheat Areas3-4

    Soybeans: How Low Can Planting Rates Safely Go? – DTN3-3

    Japan Reduces Hurdles to Pacific Trade Deal Progress – DTN3-3

    New Videos Shows Weeds Time-Lapsed Reaction to Herbicides3-3

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Northern Farmers Glad for Lack of Delays3-3

    Pennsylvania: 4 Weed Resistance Workshops, March 17-203-3

    North Carolina: Farming on Leased Land Workshop, Mills River, April 93-3

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices3-3

    Cotton: Topguard Gets Full Registration, Pay Attention to Use Rates3-3

    Crop Insurance: Soybean Projected Prices Down 10¢ from 20143-3

    Immigration Reform: House E-verify Not Enough, Says Ag Coalition3-3

    Fertilizer Management: Watch Out for Burns from In-Furrow Starters – DTN3-2

    Keith Good: Ethanol Profits; California Rains – Just Drop in the Drought Bucket3-2

    Herbicide-Resistance: 12 Steps to Keep Weeds Away3-2

    Hogs: Price Collapse – ‘Buy the Rumor, and Sell the Fact.’ – Podcast3-2

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Harsh Winter to Keep Prices Flat3-2

    Corn Planting: New Technology Worth the Money – DTN3-2

    Grain Sorghum: Great Rotation Crop – Acres Growing in Mid-Atlantic Region3-2

    Arkansas: Tyson Gives $5M to Help Fund Center for Ag Sciences3-2

    Keith Good: Crop Insurance Guarantees to Fall; California Drought “Catastrophic”;3-2

    Rose on Cotton: Gin Show Visit – High Quality Cotton Still in Demand2-28

    Trade Promotion Authority: Vilsack Whips Up Support2-27

    Ethanol: Corn Growers Defend RFS – DTN2-27

    Planting: New Rigs at the Top of Their Game – DTN2-27

    Rice Market: Only Feeble Signs of Price Improvement2-27

    Wheat: Study Sheds Light on Stem Rust Disease in Africa and Asia2-27

    Nebraska: Can You Shoot an Uninvited Drone?2-27

    Turkey Hunting: Tips for the Spring Gobbler Season2-27

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney +