Ben Beckman - Extension Educator

Ben Beckman

faculty
Work
PO Box 368 101 E Centre Hartington NE 68739-0368
US
Cattle stand in pasture below thunderstorm
Despite their resiliency, perennial forages can experience significant yield loss from hailstorms. Damage assessment and timing are key to the recovery process for pastures and hay fields.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Hail Damage to Pasture and Hay, Alfalfa Irrigation After a Wet Spring

June 11, 2024
Extension recommendations on reducing the risk of toxic plant consumption for grazing animals, hail damage recovery for pasture and hay fields, and summer alfalfa irrigation following a wet spring.

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Harvested alfalfa falls from combine
First cutting of alfalfa is a great time to assess your field conditions — producers should take time to scout for disease, insects, weeds and other issues that may need corrective action.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Alfalfa Harvest Checklist, Managing Pasture Weeds After Drought

June 6, 2024
It's time for first cutting of alfalfa, which is a prime opportunity to assess field condition. Keep these factors in mind during harvest to get ahead of crop issues.

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Leafy spurge closeup
Leafy spurge spreads aggressively and is difficult to control once established. Several herbicides are labeled for control of this weed, but continued monitoring and retreatments are necessary for best results.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Controlling Leafy Spurge and Alfalfa Weevil, Planting Warm-season Annuals

May 28, 2024
Strategies for reducing spread of leafy spurge and scouting for alfalfa weevil, plus insights on selecting and planting warm-season annuals.

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Silage pit on farm covered with tires
Once silage is exposed to oxygen, its quality can decrease quickly. For best results, don’t expose more than three days’ worth of a pile at a time.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Retaining Silage Quality During Feedout, Grasshopper Management

May 21, 2024
Tips on retaining silage condition during feedout, planning the optimal time for grass hay harvest, and controlling grasshopper in rangeland and forages.

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Tractor and grain truck harvesting silage
Though delaying small grain harvest can produce higher yields, it also decreases crude protein content. Producers should consider the animal being fed and feeding method before harvesting to get the most out of these crops.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Preparing for First Cutting Alfalfa, Small Grain Harvest Strategies

May 14, 2024
With the first harvest of 2024 beginning soon, producers should take this time to perform equipment maintenance and strategize the timing of alfalfa and small grains harvest based on operational needs.

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Cow in tall grass
Making a decision on when to graze winter annuals such rye, winter wheat or triticale in the spring should depend on plant growth — ideally, the best time to graze is when the plants are about five to six inches tall.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Annual Forage Webinar Series, Improving Alfalfa Stands

April 17, 2024
Extension educators introduce a new webinar series for producers interested in adding an annual forage rotation to their operation, plus insights on grazing spring cereal grains and options for thin alfalfa stands.

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Man operates drone in field
Though the startup costs can seem daunting, drones can help producers save time and reduce costs on numerous tasks involved in managing livestock.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Drones for Livestock Management, Drought Recovery

April 9, 2024
This week, extension educators weigh in on the pros and cons of drone use for livestock producers, and considerations for drought-damaged pastures and controlling winter annual weeds in alfalfa. 

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Cattle grazing pasture during spring
Lush spring growth brings with it the risk of grass tetany, due to its low magnesium levels. To avoid tetany issues, it’s best to wait until grass in pastures has grown to at least six inches high before grazing.

Pasture and Forage Minute: Double Cropping Forages, Wheat Grazing vs. Grain Value

April 3, 2024
Insights on double cropping annual forages in irrigated cropland, avoiding grass tetany, and making the decision to use wheat as forage or grain this year. 

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