Miracle products and foo foo dust

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By Steve Moore

Increase your profits and production for just pennies per acre. Haven’t we all seen or heard such tempting claims about various products. But is it real?

You know the pitch. Maybe it’s a Bermuda grass that will yield 20 tons per acre. Or a foliar fertilizer that doubles alfalfa production. It could be a soil enhancer that makes water wetter or releases more nutrients from your soil. Or possibly a microbial inoculant that allows you to safely bale or store wet hay.

We’ve all heard these miraculous claims. And truthfully, they sound pretty good and often have some reasonable sounding explanation about why they work. It’s hard not to be tempted to buy them.

 But will they work? Now, we can’t positively discount every single one of these miracle products. After all, we have a lot to learn about Mother Nature; and when we say something can’t happen or is impossible, she sometimes throws us a curve to prove us wrong.

You know the old adage - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Still, what if it is true? Why not take the gamble, just in case. Maybe the big question should be — how much should you gamble.  Nothing wrong with trying something new. That’s how we improve.

But start slow. Spray a couple test strips. Plant just a couple acres. Treat a few bales. Make it prove itself before you bet the farm. If it really is good, the product will be available again next year.

(Source: Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska, in the Kentucky Forage News )



Simple electric fencing is one good way to stretch your pastures this spring and summer.

Electric fence is the easiest and cheapest way to increase production in summer pastures.

Dividing pastures with electric cross fences gives you more control of when and where your cattle graze. It helps you encourage cattle to graze pastures more uniformly and completely, including areas they normally avoid. And, it can help you improve the health and vigor of your grass by giving it time to recover and regrow after each grazing.

As a result, your grass production and pasture carrying capacity will increase. This will be especially valuable this year following the stress of last year’s drought.

There are many ads promoting high-powered, high-tensile, imported electric fencing systems.  We encourage using these systems in many situations.  But cross fences do not need to be permanent, nor do they need to be expensive. This is especially true if you already have electric fencing your animals respect.  And using fencing equipment you already have gives you an inexpensive opportunity to experiment with where you might eventually place a more permanent cross fence.

Managed grazing doesn’t need to start with large numbers of pastures.  If you have one big field, simply make it two.  If you have two big fields, make four, and so on.  More grass, better gains, and better profits might be the result.