GFM Network News


Manure being spread at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center.

Troublesome weeds spread through manure

Weed seeds pass unharmed through the digestive tracts of animals such as cattle and sheep

Using some kinds of manure as fertilizer can lead to the spread of noxious and troublesome weeds. “It is a known fact that weed seeds pass unharmed through the digestive tracts of ruminant animals (cattle, sheep),” says Mary Keena, livestock environmental management specialist based at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center. “This means that whatever weed seeds

Rye, seeded as a cover crop into corn.

Rye most often-grown cover crop

A new extension publication addresses questions about rye as a cover crop

Cover crops are becoming increasingly important as a component of sustainable agriculture production. “Properly managed cover crops can reduce soil losses from wind and water erosion, reduce nitrogen losses, utilize excessive soil moisture, promote biodiversity, suppress weeds, improve soil structure and improve trafficability of fields,” says Hans Kandel, North Dakota State University Extension agronomist. In temperate regions of


Starting to plan now can help make the most of pastures in the spring.

Now is the time to plan for 2021 grazing season

Pastures stressed by drought or overgrazing this fall more than likely will experience a delay in grazing readiness in spring

The region has received several seasons of drier-than-average weather. While some locations did get some relief this year, the effect on pastures is lingering. Ranchers here in North Dakota have reported up to 60 per cent reductions in forage production on pasture, range and hay land due to the drought in 2020, according to North

A hay sample being emptied into a bucket.

Forage analysis valuable in developing winter feeding program

Determining the nutrient content of forages and other feeds through laboratory analysis is the best way to design a nutrition program that meets livestock requirements

Laboratory analysis to determine the quality of feedstuffs was developed more than 150 years ago. “Since that time, the ability to accurately analyze forages has greatly improved, as has the ability to use results to improve livestock feed efficiency and performance,” says Janna Block, extension livestock systems specialist at NDSU’s Hettinger Research Extension Center. “However, this valuable management

Weather conditions during field drying, after plants are frozen, impact the colour of the harvested soybeans.

Management tips for frost-damaged soybeans

Soybeans killed at growth stages of full seed development and beginning maturity should be left out in the field to dry before harvest

An early frost has producers wondering what to do with immature frost-damaged soybeans. “Soybeans killed at growth stages of full seed development (R6) and beginning maturity (R7) should be left out in the field to dry and harvested along with mature soybeans (R8) when the beans are at the desired moisture content,” advises Ken Hellevang,


With the arrival of spring turnout, it’s a good time to consider your herd health program.

Practise cattle and people health management at turnout time

Now is a good time to evaluate vaccination and herd health management protocols

Spring turnout to the pasture is a good time for producers to review their cow-calf health management plans, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock experts. They note that a number of factors can impact cow-calf health, including slow grass growth and moisture conditions that may delay grazing readiness and result in prolonged feeding.

For the past decade, North Dakota State University has conducted field research on bean yields versus plant population and row size.

Dry beans respond to row spacing and plant population

Trials on black and navy beans show a slight advantage to narrow spacing and higher plant population

Narrower row spacing and higher plant populations have some advantage in dry bean production, according to research by North Dakota State University. For the past decade, NDSU has been conducting field research examining the response of black, navy and pinto beans to different combinations of row spacings and plant populations to identify optimum seed yield. Research focused on black and navy beans grown

The key to treating a calf with scours is to identify the problem and treat the animal early.

Diarrhea can be deadly for calves

A number of different factors can cause this serious issue

Cattle producers need to be on the lookout for calf diarrhea, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock experts. The majority of scours, or diarrhea, cases occur when calves are three to 16 days old. Untreated calves essentially die of shock from a loss of fluids and electrolyte imbalances. “Calf scours is most often


North Dakota land values hold steady

North Dakota land values hold steady

Below the border, North Dakota cropland values and cash rents remain flat, says Bryon Parman, North Dakota State University agricultural finance specialist. “Despite the lower commodity prices of the last several years, the longer-term averages have been aided by low interest rates, farm programs and ad hoc payment programs designed to help farmers meet cash

Getting ready ahead of time can help ensure a successful calving season.

Prepare for spring calving

A few simple steps can set your operation up for success

Planning and preparing for the calving season can help not only minimize calf losses but also improve calves’ performance, according to North Dakota State University Extension livestock specialists. The nutrition status of the calving herd is one issue to consider in preparing for the upcoming spring calving season. “Although this should be an earlier concern,