Improving your bottom lineArea agriculture officials say with today’s economic climate, cattle producers should explore new ways to increase profitability, including utilizing grazing techniques to improve soil health.
Area agriculture officials say with today’s economic climate, cattle producers should explore new ways to increase profitability, including utilizing grazing techniques to improve soil health.
Officials at North Dakota State University’s Hettinger Research Extension Center have been conducting research on a variety of topics through the past year and hopes to share results, ideas and techniques with producers, said Michele Thompson, Southwest Feeders Project coordinator at the HREC.
Some of the year’s research will be presented at the HREC Beef Research Review, to be held Jan. 28 at the HREC.
The event will focus on research and techniques done by agriculture officials on natural beef production, co-products and commodities in diets, cattle and wildlife interactions, and grazing to improve soil health.
Each year, a variety of different research is done on the center, she said.
“We’ve had in the past for the Beef Research Review we’ve talked about early weaning management strategies on May-born calves, we’ve talked about using aerial photography to monitor rangelands, last year we had a gentleman come in and talk about the Livestock Protection Program,” Thompson said. “We’ve had different topics, this year we’re kind of pulling back a little bit and doing a little more focus on the grazing initiatives, just maybe let the producers know that there are some other things that they need to consider to stay economically viable.”
Staying economically viable in a changing market can be tough, she said.
“The past couple of years have been hard on agriculture as a whole,” Thompson said.
Gabe Brown, a rancher from the Bismarck area, will be one of the speakers during the event and said he and his fellow North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition members have learned to utilize various techniques to improve soil health, which is many times overlooked by producers.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the cow-calf business, the sheep business, or if you’re producing grain, everything we do on a farm or ranch, it comes down to soil health,” Brown said. “The soil’s going to provide the basis and the base of what we do. The better we can take care of the soil and the healthier we can get it, the more it will provide dividends for us farmers and ranchers.”
Brown said he has utilized soil-improvement techniques after nearly going bankrupt following poor crop years due to hail and drought.
“It’s such an unknown area, there aren’t a lot of people paying a lot of attention and time to it,” Brown said. “There are a lot more of us looking at improving soil health and it’s really paying dividends.”
Brown estimates he talks to groups of producers about 30 to 50 times a year.
“We enjoy sharing what we’re doing and we believe in it,” he said.
For more information on the event, contact Thompson at 701-567-4323.