Calving On Grass Video
Many ranchers/farmers have grown tired of the increasing animal (and financial) losses and the associated human stress caused by calving during more extreme February and March weather. Calving on grass has become the management tool of choice for many ranchers in South Dakota. This video features Mike Blaalid (Micthell, SD), Candice Olson Mizera (McLaughlin SD) and Larry Wagner (Chamberlain/Pukwana, SD) discussing the advantages of calving on grass, why they changed calving dates, a few pointers to success on calving on grass, cattle traits for grass calving, calf health, reductions in costs (also reductions in capital for infrastructure ), and the knock on effect in terms of reduced labor and human animal stress. This short video (10 ½ minutes) is really a small sample of the benefits of calving on grass.
One final question: what does calving on grass have to do with soil health and healthy rangeland. One of the biggest threats to rangeland in South Dakota is conversion to cropland and this land use change is especially tempting when corn prices are higher. May calving allows (1) folks like Larry Wagner to stay in the cow business and (2) reduces the barriers to entry for new producers to come into the cow business because of lower infrastructure costs (covered in the final section of how calving on grass can work for you) – in short, keeping the prairies in ranching and recruiting more folks into ranching allows us to keep the grass green side up, allows us to preserve the prairie, a national treasure and finally, allows us to preserve a way of life.