Fri, 28 Oct 2022 09:30:18 CDT
The concept of being a good steward of your land is not new to cattle producers. Today, we use a little different terminology. Senior Farm and Ranch Director is featuring part two of comments from the Noble Research Institute’s Director of Producer Relations, Hugh Aljoe, about land stewardship.
“None of us can argue about the importance of land stewardship and soil health,” Aljoe said. “So, when we begin to think what it takes in order to rebuild the soil and have potential to improve production on these soils, we have got to take care of the plants, the soil itself and then whatever organisms or life that is within the soil.”
Having adequate plant material in the soil is important, Aljoe said because aside from feeding livestock, organisms in the soil must also be fed.
“There is typically a lot more organisms than we ever have thought, but those organisms are what allows for our biology to improve, to enhance our soil organic matter that improves our soil aggregation, and overall improves our productive capabilities within the soil itself,” Aljoe said.
Aljoe urges producers to use the least amount of land possible to support their livestock to maintain the integrity of that land so that when the drought ends, that leftover forage has the opportunity to flourish.
“That one area that you feed on; it may take a little bit to recover, but on the positive side, there is a lot of organic material that is being deposited on that,” Aljoe said. “In essence, we don’t want to degrade the entire land resource. Minimize degradation.”
For those not practicing soil health principles on their ranch currently, Aljoe says starting is simple.
“Take an area that is pretty productive and go in there, and if nothing else, manage for the rest and recovery of those plants,” Aljoe said. “What you want to do is when you graze it, you don’t want to graze until you have full expression of the plant every time that you go in there to graze.”
After the plants have fully recovered, Aljoe said producers can improve soil health by minimizing days livestock are on those plants and practicing principles such as rotational grazing.
"You only want to graze the top half, preferably the top third if it is early in the growing season,” Aljoe said. “Then, let it fully express itself again before you come in there and graze it again. Ultimately whether you take a third or you take half, you still want to allow it to fully recover itself for as long as you can throughout the growing season and you will end up growing much more grass than you would if you just turned them in and continuously grazed.”
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Hugh Aljoe talking land stewardship.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
Listen to Hugh Aljoe on Land Stewardship