Get Ready for November 2016

Get Ready for November 2016

Hard to believe that November is already just around the corner!  Take some time on those chilly fall evenings to learn from nature and pull inspiration from innovative farmers and gardeners.  And while you’re sitting at the table with family this Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks for the simple things. Learn lessons from the bison. Discover that you can farm. Eat your egg yolks. Explore … Continue reading Get Ready for November 2016

Brix: How Do We Measure It?

Brix: How Do We Measure It?

Now we have a definition of brix: the weight of dissolved sugar expressed as a percentage of the weight of the entire solution.  The next question is how we measure brix.   The Refractometer As its name suggests, a refractometer operates on the principle of refraction.  When a beam of light passes through a liquid solution, it bends, or refracts.  The more solids (e.g., sugars) … Continue reading Brix: How Do We Measure It?

30-Year Normals

30-Year Normals

Agriculture is very much a weather-dependent pursuit. The success or failure of both garden and field crops in any given year depends primarily on the rainfall and temperatures. Even pastures should be managed with an eye to the sky. With this in mind, it is a good idea to know roughly what type of weather you can expect in an average year. Oregon State University … Continue reading 30-Year Normals

Free LSU Building Plans

Free LSU Building Plans

Louisiana State University has put together an excellent website packed with countless building plans available for free PDF download.  If you are the do-it-yourself type, this is a site that you should definitely bookmark! Just to give you a very small sampling of the plans and projects that are included: Gates. Barns. Corrals. Feeders. Dairy parlors. Rearview mirrors for tractors. Walk-in refrigerators. Roadside fruit stands. … Continue reading Free LSU Building Plans

What is TDN?

What is TDN?

TDN is short for total digestible nutrients.  Many writers have criticized the term as being somewhat confusing, since TDN does not measure all types of nutrients, but rather the energy contained in a given feed. TDN estimates are used for swine and horses but are most common in the ruminant world.  Other methods of evaluating feed values are generally preferred for non-ruminants.   How TDN … Continue reading What is TDN?

Waterers and Watering Systems

Waterers and Watering Systems

Thinking about raising livestock this year? Do you have a watering system planned? If not, or if you want to improve an existing system, this is one book you must read: Waterers and Watering Systems: A Handbook for Livestock Producers and Landowners from K-State. This free PDF download is packed with pros, cons, and design considerations for a number of water sources, power sources, and … Continue reading Waterers and Watering Systems

How the Carbon Cycle Works

How the Carbon Cycle Works

The law of conservation of mass teaches us that matter cannot be destroyed.  It can only change forms. This principle has many practical applications.  Some of them have to do with agriculture.  For example, the carbon cycle.   How It Works Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. The carbon dioxide is converted into plant cells. Animals and humans eat the plants and … Continue reading How the Carbon Cycle Works

Tallgrass and Shortgrass

Tallgrass and Shortgrass

If you are familiar with Kansas regions, you have probably noticed that much of the natural vegetation of the state is either tallgrass or shortgrass prairie, with a transition zone of mixed prairie in between. What is the difference between tallgrass and shortgrass prairie? The names indicate that height is the distinguishing characteristic, but there is a little more to it than that.   Tallgrass … Continue reading Tallgrass and Shortgrass