Which comes first, the cattle or the grass?

Many ranchers view livestock as their base crop. Other ranchers view grass as their foundational crop from which the cattle grow.

While healthy cattle depend on healthy forages, the entire process begins with the soil, according to Chad Ellis, Noble Foundation pasture and range consultant.


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“The management of soil health is of vital importance to producers as it is the dynamic resource,” Ellis said. “As managers, we often focus on managing the aboveground production in our pastures while paying little attention to what happens belowground. Sound grazing management is the art of capturing sunlight and water while recycling a portion of the aboveground parts of the plant through livestock.”

Ellis ooutlined five principles for building soil health.



Also of interest from Southwest Farm Press:

Poor forage conditions a challenge for U.S. beef industry

Managing crop nutrients through soil testing

Much of state’s warm-season grass pastures still drought damaged